Mapping The Web

December 13, 2007

Web 2.0 Critics Are Partially Right

Tags: social media, blogs, trends, networks — Aidan @ 1:14 pm

The blogosphere seems to have a distinct hatred for web 2.0 critics. These “anti-social media” crusaders, most notably Andrew Keen and Nicholas Carr, have a tendency to openly express their distaste for web 2.0. The naive and uninformed are quick to discredit their opinions and theories. However, the educated take an extra second to ponder their hypotheses with interest and intrigue… 

Let’s face it. Web 2.0 is an echo-chamber. You can use any cliche you’d like to describe it. “Drinking the Kool-Aid” and “preaching the choir” come to mind. At the end of the day, this group of idealistic web enthusiasts is often oblivious and ignorant to the downfalls of web 2.0.

The most commonly cited argument against web 2.0 is the notion of “mediocrity of the amateur”. This notion states that a small number of unique, knowledgeable voices is more powerful than a group of semi-knowledgeable, amateur voices. The most obvious example of this is the perpetual ‘encyclopedia vs. Wikipedia‘ debate.

The concept is more clearly defined in a popular Nicholas Carr post entitled, “The amorality of Web 2.0″. In his essay, Carr clearly outlines his arguments and criticisms of web 2.0. Some are hard to justify, while others are hard to accept. My favourite quote from the post, and one that has stuck with me, is the following:

“… free trumps quality all the time.”

It rings true all over the web. Nobody is willing to pay for anything anymore if there is a somewhat comparable offering available. As noted, this still stands true even if the substitute is of lesser quality. Cost will always edge out quality, especially on the web.

Now, I’m not siding with either party. I’d like to think of myself as an advocate of web 2.0, who is aware of its limitations and potential faults. Lack of an open mind is not only short-sighted, but may also be costly in the business world. I’m not stating that everyone should revolt against web 2.0. Rather, I’m saying that we should all be willing to take a step back and see things from an opposing perspective. 2.0 Critics Are Partially Right digg:Web 2.0 Critics Are Partially Right reddit:Web 2.0 Critics Are Partially Right

5 Responses to “Web 2.0 Critics Are Partially Right”

  1. mike corso Says:

    Good points. I’m especially turned off by the horrendous layouts and ad-infested sites from the likes of myspace.

    Mike Corso
    Cool Site of the Day TM
    “On the Web Since 1994. Over 4,000 Sites Served!”
    (914) 907-9733

  2. Mark Wiseman Says:

    I was getting tired of the social networking scene until I discovered 9rules. Here I can find good discussion.

  3. Mike Says:

    free trumps quality all the time except when you have money and a desire to have something good.

    web3.0 4 l!fe

  4. Rudy Says:

    In terms of quality, some might argue about reading article/comments on blog vs Wall St. Journal - which article has been less influenced by sponsors?

    Maybe we just don’t trust mainstream media quality anymore.

  5. Dustin Boston Says:

    @Rudy - Great point.

    Let’s assume you’ve never heard about sex before. Would you rather hear about if for the first time from a single virgin or from a happily married couple? One obviously knows more than the other about the topic. On the other hand, because of the virgins lack of history in the area, their perspective might actually be refreshing and compelling. It is both a pro and a con.

    The great thing about the Social Web is that it gives you, the reader, the choice. If you want to read Joe Schmoe alongside NPR, you can. And that’s what makes Web 2.0 great.

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