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Web 2.0 is like Group Therapy


When did Web 2.0 become synonomous with Sharing? And I mean "Sharing" with a capital "S". Sharing knowledge, lessons learned, product reviews, tips and tricks, links/bookmarks, and even photos makes sense to me. The ability to harness collective intelligence (the whole wisdom of crowds thing) is something we all benefit from. But that's "sharing" with a small "s".

I believe the "small s" version is what Tim O'Reilly is referring to in his Web 2.0 Compact Definition . He doesn't even use the word "sharing". He uses "architecture of participation." And participation is not the same as Sharing. But the definitions of Web 2.0 have morphed and made Sharing=Goodness a central theme. And sometimes, Sharing means Too Much Information.

In America, we're all rightfully outraged by invasions of privacy, while our appetite for the private lives of others grows unchecked:

Reality TV

Celebrity gossip
(and now even blog and tech celebrities!)

Personal secrets
(granted--I LOVE this site, but at least here it's more about the art... and anonymous)

Dooce, the top 100 blog whose official description is, "I talk a lot about poop, boobs, my dog, and my daughter." Outside of the dog, and an occasional kid picture, the rest makes me cringe. The odd thing is, Dooce author Heather Armstrong is such an amazing writer that she could make renewing her car registration worth reading. I don't consider the whole bowel-movement-thing to be an essential part of what makes her so compelling. (hope I'm not wrong on that one...)

More and more, the Web 2.0 and Blog world feels like a highly-scaleable, web-enabled way to peek into more medicine cabinets. And it's even sucking the slightly elicit fun out of that now that we're all encouraged to Share. Where's the mystery? Where's the excitement that comes from not knowing everything? Is the (metaphorical) allure of the strip-tease gone forever?

I don't want to know what's in my present before I open it. I look away during movie trailers. I love the air-tight secrecy around Apple's product announcements.

Please, please Web 2.0 folks -- don't let "harnessing collective intelligence" become group therapy. Feeding our lust for personal, public revelations (it's just a matter of time before nearly everyone has been trashed online by an angry ex) isn't helping raise our collective intelligence.

Just look at all the scary similarities:

Bonus question: be honest, how many of you clicked on the gossip link? How long did you stay there? ; )
[Disclaimer: this post was meant, more or less, as a joke]

Posted by Kathy on March 19, 2006 | Permalink


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» Tech Trends -- March 20, 2006 from XplanaZine
Here's our take on news that matters for Monday, March 20. Today's theme is magic Monday , and here are a some links to headlines about technology that is changing the way we live and learn. Gaming -- [Read More]

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» http://www.thinkmojo.com/?p=97 from think mojo
Kathy is back and firing on all cylinders after her recent travels. Her latest post on Web 2.0 and Sharing is great stuff. She may have meant it as a bit of a joke, but as usual, substance lurks in her comments. The table on group therapy... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 20, 2006 3:46:30 AM

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» DesiPundit - Web 2.0 or Group Therapy? from Nerve Endings Firing Away
When did Web 2.0 become synonomous with Sharing? And I mean Sharing with a capital S. Sharing knowledge, lessons learned, product reviews, tips and tricks, links/bookmarks, and even photos makes sense to me. The ability to h... [Read More]

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» Sharing, Visibility, and Creativity from Swarming Media
I seem to find myself referencing a Scott Karp post once again. This time it's a piece from a few days ago, "Web 2.0 vs. Privacy." I've written frequently in this blog about the issues of distributed identity and distributed... [Read More]

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LOL'ing for real. :)

Posted by: Adam Bloom | Mar 19, 2006 7:13:36 PM

Happy with myself I clicked on NO link.

(Does it count that I read the Postsecret hardbound book while standing in the bookstore?)

(And it was awesome)?

Posted by: Lauren Muney | Mar 19, 2006 7:16:00 PM

"My favorite thing about the Internet is that you get to go into the private world of real creeps without having to smell them."
-- Penn Jillette

Posted by: Michael Moncur | Mar 19, 2006 8:04:50 PM

You know ... when I first saw the headline I thought it said, "Web 2.0 is like Group *Theory*" :) So of course ... I immediately started reading it looking for, say, the announcement of "Head First Abstract Algebra. :)

Man ... I gotta get a life ...

Posted by: Ed Borasky | Mar 19, 2006 9:23:53 PM

@ Ed: but just think, they could use all those stock images of clocks.

Posted by: whump | Mar 19, 2006 10:01:31 PM

Loved the table!

Posted by: Luke Blackman | Mar 19, 2006 10:07:50 PM

The advent of Web 2.0 occurred around the same time the internet was neutered by some unseen hand.

Posted by: Hexxenn | Mar 19, 2006 11:06:30 PM

Cute, though I don't think XHTML validation is that important :-) See http://dojotoolkit.org/docs/fast_widget_authoring.html and all of its illegal but useful HTML attributes...

Posted by: Bill Higgins | Mar 19, 2006 11:28:01 PM

Excellent comparisons!!!

Kathy, When are you gonna start talking (audio blogging)? I'd love to have you speak on my blog (http://vlog.oraflame.com)as a visiting evagelist.

Posted by: Tarry Singh | Mar 20, 2006 2:38:32 AM

This supposed joke post was great. I also called for attention in my blog (post "Social bookmarking and how it affects you
about how some aspects of web 2.0 may not be always the best for all. It is a paradox, that something that theoretically contributes to share things places, and help us discovered undiscovered places on the web, ends up creating an elite where all of us do the same things and go to the same websites. Have you noticed?
Example: how many people check the second results page when looking for something in delicious? Does it mean the content in the follwing pages is that bad as to be ignored? But we click because everyone else did.
So the theory doesn't become reality at all. We stay as we were, doing what everyone else does, just deluding ourselves that we are different, innovative and "cool" :)

Posted by: Javier | Mar 20, 2006 5:42:06 AM

Speaking of WEB2... I had a good laugh at one site I am going to provide link to, but *be warned* - it may seem offensive to some. There it is: http://www.parm.net/web2.0/

Posted by: Rimantas | Mar 20, 2006 5:46:40 AM



Posted by: Scott Reynen | Mar 20, 2006 7:35:45 AM

I'd say "less" (as opposed to "more")...

Posted by: David | Mar 20, 2006 10:11:30 AM

Haha, I didn't click on any of the links! Here at Concordia University, we engineers take a course that basically teaches us to chase less after the celebrity gossips, read more news more carefully, and ignore graphical political advertisements.

Posted by: Kal | Mar 20, 2006 11:58:28 AM

Good stuff -- when can we have our next appointment?

Posted by: Sterling Camden | Mar 20, 2006 1:10:23 PM

Kathy, I wonder if you are subtly referring to the (group validation) pile-on in the Rogers Cadenhead's vs Dave Winer 'case'.

I wrote this post after a company I'd worked for announced they were 'liquidating assets.' On the exact same day we'd sent out a press release announcing a brand-new second blog and an interview with David Weinberger. I didn't reveal anything as that would have been poor judgment, but I stayed true to the feelings and I shared it because it felt as if it might be useful to others at ending times too:

I don't think you need to be revelatory to share or even to be intimate. My sense is most personal blogs are just aching to be true. I'm pretty sure there's much that Dooce doesn't tell. But I don't think her popularity has so much to do with celebrity as much as she is someone that many people can relate to because they are also facing same issues, same scenario, same feelings - and thinking they were all alone. ("We read to know we are not alone," - C.S. Lewis)

My feeling is if you're true to yourself, you won't need therapy - group or otherwise.

"Your obligation in any one lifetime is to be true to yourself." - Richard Bach

"This above all: To thine own self be true, for it must follow as dost the night the day, that canst not then be false to any man." - Shakespeare (Hamlet)

Posted by: Evelyn Rodriguez | Mar 20, 2006 7:59:28 PM

Thanks for the business idea... Long time fan, first time commenter. I actaully got funding for your idea!!!


Posted by: Solomon | Mar 22, 2006 9:24:19 PM

Sam just pointed me to this article. I also made similar observations back in March:



Posted by: HeresTomWithTheWeather | Apr 18, 2006 4:13:52 PM

Trying again....



Posted by: HeresTomWithTheWeather | Apr 18, 2006 4:15:59 PM

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