Web 1.0: User Participation?

January 19th, 2007 | Categories: networks, trends, wikis

The concept of user-contribution is relatively new. Only recently has it really gone mainstream. Wikipedia proved out the model and many corporate entities are now harnessing the power of wikis. The evidence is real and the trend is here to stay.

But the notion of ‘user participation’ has been around for longer than we think. Often times, we hear the term used interchangeably with its sibling mentioned above. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t be confused as they represent different concepts.

In my opinion, user-contribution describes a situation where users contribute on an individual level and the aggregate of the contributions is more powerful than the individual expenditures. In other words, the more people that collaborate, the better the overall outcome or results. Meanwhile, user participation simply conveys the idea that users participate on an individual level and add separate pieces to the cause. There is no aggregate and every piece needs to be examined. Obviously, conclusions can be pulled from the various sources, but there is no resounding interpretation.

Basically, I’m saying that user participation has been around awhile in the form of forums. Wikipedia describes a forum as “a facility on the World Wide Web for holding discussions and posting user generated content, or the web application software used to provide the facility”. The system essentially runs itself with little or not human intervention - ignoring the moderation aspect, of course.

These discussion facilities have been around since the dawn of the Internet.

My point is that is user participation is old school, not something new or revolutionary. The idea of user-contribution (or crowdsourcing in some cases) is newer and much more powerful. It harnesses the knowledge of the masses to create an entity or solve a problem that could not otherwise be achieved by the individuals pieces.

Wow, that began to sound like an introductory philosophy class.

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