2.0 Culture(s)

January 22, 2008 at 10:02 am 2 comments

“Web 2.0” may not be the best term for what we are experiencing as a society in the this age of Google and MySpace, but the fact that we are in it and that it is a new phenomenon which is developing its own culture is undeniable. Stephen Abram pointed out that “All these things we depend on are truly quite young,” in a post entitled It’s Not Very Old on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of TCP/IP this month. He goes on in another post to point out a new Pew Internet & American Life Project report: Teen Content Creators. (Find that report and others at http://pewinternet.org/.) I didn’t know that more girls blog than boys (30% of girls; 20% of boys). Also,

Content creation by teenagers continues to grow, with 64% of online teenagers ages 12 to 17 engaging in at least one type of content creation, up from 57% of online teens in 2004.

Meanwhile, in Understanding the culture of social networking technologies, Meredith Farkas quotes insights by other librarian bloggers about the need for us to be aware of these cultures: ie, we should be aware that how we want to use the these tools are not necessarily the way our patrons want to use them:

And it’s not only about understanding social networking. It’s also about understanding our own unique population…. We need to understand not only our users’ needs and wants, but also how they approach these tools, what sort of sense of privacy they have, and what sort of interactions they might want from the library.

Taking Abrams point about how young these technologies are, I would argue that the culture which surrounds the 2.0 phenomenon is still nascent. We don’t yet know what it will be; we only have the evidence of groups of individuals using it in their own ways.  There are pockets of 2.0 activity each of which is developing its own culture. 

A culture in the broadest sense is something that is established over long periods of time, and is referred to only after it has been established — like the culture of an ethnic group or nationality.  Then there is the more narrow sense of something established by a generation, or that defines a generation — something that the next generation grows up in and takes for granted — like TV culture.  But understood in this way, what does the term “teen culture” mean?  It’s a slippery concept, and that’s why I think it makes more sense to speak of it in the plural, as 2.0 cultures.

MySpace, as Abrams points out, is 8 years old.   When today’s 8-year-olds are turn 28 and start having kids of their own — what social networking site will they use, if any?  What will there kids grow up using?  Though we  cannot answer these questions, I suspect that there will be some established patterns by that time.  The extent to which these patterns are part of a culture or of separate cultures of 2.0, we have no way to know beforehand.


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. transientox  |  January 22, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Communication is a fundamental aspect of human society. People will always come up with new and creative ways to express themselves. Creativity, as well as a host of other activities healthy to a society, happen when people are able to achieve self-actualization in the hierarchy of needs, having all of their baser needs met. So then the question is, how do we organize ourselves as a society so as to allow everyone to achieve self-actualization in his or her own way?


    Then, if we were to look at the Internet as a kind of conglomerate entity, how do we allow the Internet itself to achieve self-actualization such that a defined culture emerges?

    Good post btw. I didn’t know more girls blog than boys. So what do boys do more than girls, since I know there are more guys than girls on the internet? Playing video/online games?

  • 2. ROG  |  January 25, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Hey, Ben- I’ll be linking to your blog . And probably unlink to your defunct one.


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