on wednesday, i gave a talk called the power of web 2.0 at the main branch of the san francisco public library. i thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope to collaborate further with sfpl.
i began with the most basic definition - web 2.0 sites are less about lectures (broadcast) and more about conversation (participation) - and talked about user generated content. using o'reilly, i suggested britannica online is web 1.0 and wikipedia is web 2.0.
using the personal, i noted that my old homepage was an example of web 1.0. it acted as a single silo. it broadcasted and controlled information. it gave readers little opportunity to interact. and it was totally about self promotion! then i suggested my blog is an example of web 2.0. it serves as a space for conversation, especially in the comments section. much of its content is generated via remixed media. and, through feevy, my blog becomes a part of a community and - even better - the community becomes part of my blog. along the way, i introduced key terms like online communities, crowdsourcing, tagging, and remixing.
then i stepped back and got critical. first, i identified web 2.0 as a marketing meme, one intended to increase hype of and investment in the web (and web consultants) and hinted at its largely consumer rather than communal directions and applications. second, i warned against the presentism implied in web 2.0. today's web may indeed be more participatory but it is also an outgrowth of past developments like firefly, amazon's user book reviews, craigslist, and ebay - not to mention older user generated content applications like usenet, listservs, and MUDs. third, i argued against the medium-centricness of the term web 2.0. user generated content can and does exist in other media, of course, including newspapers' letters to the editor section, talk radio, and viewers voting on reality tv shows. and i ended with my all-time favorite example of user generated content, the suggestion box, which uses slips of paper, pencils, and a box.
i ended the lecture (a lecture?!? very 1.0) by raising various questions and generalizations about the intersections between web 2.0 and economics, politics, and militarism.
the discussion that followed was exciting. i like how spinning uncensored put it: "The discussion that took place during Silver's talk was animated, though not heated. Most of us were librarians after all!" there were between fifty and sixty in attendance, mostly librarians, and the hour and a half went fast, too fast. it felt, in fact, the way the first day of class often feels - you race through all this exciting material and then the moment discussion begins to go in multiple directions class is dismissed. doh!
thanks to jerry dear and his colleagues at sfpl's herb caen magazines and newspapers center for the opportunity and i'll be sure to keep up with their events and resources through their recently launched blog.