Home > Uncategorized > Getting to know web 2.0

Getting to know web 2.0

During last weekend I read some highlights of Aleksandra Krotoski’s PHD thesis on Social Influence in Second Life, and after I passed it to a friend at Strathclyde Business School, he replied sharing a program the author recently completed for the BBC on the Virtual Revolution.

Its been fascinating getting familiarized on the current state of play with internet technology.  It was surprising to me to find that I was unconsciously assimilating the new web without really trying to understand the real cost of it!  I like FREE!   The image above snapped from the first episode of Krotoski’s show demonstrates from Britain the web mathematically modeled around one single day’s web traffic.  The size of the planets show the web brands that matter i.e. the ones that have the most influence and potentially the most dangerous!  The web, the great leveler and democratizer has been reduced to a handful of mega brands from Silicon Valley including:

– 1 search (google)

– 1 market (ebay)

– 1 bookshop (amazon)

– 1 social network (facebook)

– 1 encyclopedia (wikipedia)

– 1 university (just kidding – not yet!)

So, the great leveler lends itself to amplifying the human flaws of oligarchy, power, elitism, and hierarchy after all, but it seems somewhat more extreme than in bricks’n’mortar companies – at least I can still decide to buy Coke, or Pepsi, or ….(as I type this I naturally flick across to Google to search for the top three brands and then into Wikipedia… strangely I can’t find a clear answer – and Coca Cola keeps coming up first in my web search – there might be a conspiracy there!) Ok, but I think you get the picture.  The web is being dominated by free – but is it really free? It is not, every search, preference, purchase, email, blog is either being tracked, mined or used in some way that advertising and consumer targeting is refined.  We are the product, our data, our photos, our blogs, our online and purchasing behaviour, it is not the content.  What a shocker!  Ufff, how will this data be used in future?

Well, talk about being woken up from a dream!  Krotoski and the BBC team cleverly share the history and the tensions inherent in the web throughout their programme, and helped me bring the once hidden into view.  Perhaps now I have a better sense of the opportunities and the cost of free on the web.

In terms of my research into value shifts from learning inside Second Life – well, is this not even a more intrusive invasion of peoples privacy through their avatars?  Last evening I went dancing on a cruise ship (image below), went on safari in Africa and flew around the Eiffel Tower with my wife!

Now the owners of this data (I’ll assume Linden Lab) unlike tracking the traditional 2D web page to page behaviour, searches and content was actually tracking every gesture, location, conversation and behaviour.  Ouch.

In terms of other activities, I have made a shift in terms of coaching content and I am considering using the concepts of Sustainability in business as an area of focus for the research.  I will be looking for possible sponsors over the next few months.

Marwa, an Alumni from the MBA sat with me and a friend early in the week giving us a demo of nVivo the qualitative analysis software….very powerful – but no native mac version unfortunately.

Finally, I have been searching for a framework around understanding values and I think I found one with the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS) developed by social psychologist Milton Rokeach.  Now I’m wondering, what values sits behind the concept of Sustainability in Business?

So, in summary, this week has contained much learning and some shock, nevertheless, I must now search for answer to new questions i.e. what does this mean for my research?  How can I make it safe?

I don’t have the answers yet, but I will be investigating further – and google is watching…. anyone know of a lesser known but still effective search engine? lol.

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