Web 2.0 – Hey, that’s my data!

I was looking at my feed from Boxxnet for Web 2.0 related items and I saw one called “Hey, that’s my data!” from Canadian Technology News. And like any good blogger, I stole what I could from the post, including, in this case, the title.

Before I even read the article, I had an idea from the title, which was that what we write online is “up for grabs” from anyone and their brother (or sister). So what if someone decides to write a book and publish it and uses only information that has already been written from other people, without giving any credit (or money) to those people who actually wrote the book? Or who takes the best of flickr and makes a beautiful coffee table book from the pictures they find? Or I watched a show on TV that is ongoing that is just a bunch of YouTube videos they have found on the internet. I can’t remember what it is called but I just did a little looking on my digital cable and found a show on the Comedy Channel called Web Shows and the description is “A compilation of online videos”. When I went to ComedyCentral.com, I could look it up but when I clicked on “go to site” it took me to a page with episodes they had on the web (I think). So I looked clicked on “Go to TV schedule” instead and it too me to the schedule for that show and described it as “This groundbreaking half-hour series features several of the internet’s best webisodes and short-form content.”.

Anyway, I know I have watched shows on TV made up of videos that other people have made and posted on the web. Now I don’t have a problem at all with people sharing information that I have written or posted or videos or pictures I’ve taken. That is the beauty of the whole Web 2.0 concept. That it is greater than its parts. But what control is there over people taking the creative and hard worked things that people have done and using it to just make money?

Or what if someone wants to use something that you created in a way that you don’t agree with? What if, for example, you took a series of beautiful nude photographs and posted them on flickr as an art set. But someone copied them and put them in Hustler magazine as “Hot Chicks from the Web”?

Or for that matter, for something a little closer to home, usurped your website and redirected to a site you found offensive? We had a website at one time that we no longer use, but since I was into koi ponds at one time and posted pictures and descriptions of our ponds, there were links to it several places. However, a porno site redirected our links to its site and even worse, it had a million popups and all sorts of things so once you got there, you couldn’t get out or stop the madness. I tried every way possible to do something about it but had no luck. I couldn’t even edit the places where my link was posted, or in most cases, contact the person who could.

And back to the point of the post that originally sparked this thought, what control do you even have over anything relating to you on the internet? The original post was subtitled Why we’re all on Facebook, whether we like it or not” and dealt with a situation even closer to home that I am sure we all can relate to. It is about how this person had been at a party on a cruise ship and found his picture (looking rather raggedy) on someone’s facebook page. Here is a quote: “This is what happens to data in an age of social networking. We don’t necessarily create the content, we don’t store the content, and we have little to no control over how it is managed, distributed or manipulated. At the moment, if all you knew about me was the stuff about me you found on Facebook you’d assume I was a haggard-looking ne’er do well who spent too much time boating and not enough time sleeping. Which might be true, but it’s not the entire truth.”

I highly recommend you read his post, he has much to say on this particular issue and I don’t really need to re-state it here. I guarantee it will hit home and raise some interesting questions.

And as you can see, I am not above stealing a catchy title, or using what someone else has written. Are you?

~Susan Mellott

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Creating my Blog and Random Web 2.0 Musings

I have been working on learning about and creating a blog. It has been very interesting and time-consuming I might add. All the choices: what template to use, what widgets to include, which blog engine to use, what to name it, what should I say about myself… the list goes on.

I created this blog using the Google Blogger and another one in WordPress https://allthingsweb20.wordpress.com/

After trying each, I believe I prefer Google Blogger. It seems to have more features and customization capabilities. I especially like the ability to easily edit the HTML. Although I do not know HTML yet, I was able to add the code to add a button to “Add this blog to my Technorati favorites”. I tried to do the same for del.icio.us but was not as sucessful with that yet.

So what is the purpose of Technorati and del.icio.us? Honestly, I am not completely sure yet. I have tagged my blogs and added buttons to my firefox to add/tag in each, but I have not quite figured out what real purpose this serves. I hope to learn more about these soon. For now, I am just going to use them and see where it leads.

I am not sure what to do about posting to each blog. I don’t want to duplicate my posts, but I still want to explore both blog engines. I figure I will eventually settle on one but for now, I will add different posts to each. Hopefully I can combine them into one relatively easily at some point.

I should probably come up with a division of thought for each blog, maybe have one contain more personal observations and one that is more technically oriented. That is problematic though, since everything I write tends to be personal, even when I am trying to just explore something technical. It is, after all, my own personal journey. And isn’t it ultimately the personal journey of each of us, no matter what we do or where we go with it?

And how do people keep their blogs (and online persona for that matter) so impersonal and ultimately, so unrevealing? I think it is easier to state a position than a direction, and a thought than a feeling. Even the bloggers who like to take stands and state opinions seem to do it passionately, but impersonally. Do they ever feel vulnerable? Do they agonize over what they said, not so much for the content, but for the nakedness of exposing themselves to anyone who comes along? What is the difference between a blog and a diary? How do you keep the content and hide the person? What is the difference between data and information?

It seems to me that much of the Web 2.0 paradigm involves social sharing and
networks, like Second Life, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Blogs, MySpace, Twitter, wikis and more. Much, much more. Although I don’t know if it has been suggested yet, I could see having a presence in other places such as online gaming site (again, virtual worlds) like World of Warcraft. It makes sense to me to have libraries in such worlds, after all, everyone needs help and information and reference materials, everyone, everywhere needs libraries. And what are libraries if not a presence in every place and every way people gather and disseminate information?

It’s way too late (or should I say way too early) and this post is all over the place. I see that I need to learn to break my blog posts into concrete, coherent pieces. But I’m going to let this one stand. So just view it as my “stayed up too late” Web 2.0 stream of consciousness.

And one last thought. I’ve noticed that wikipedia is really becoming a viable source of information. For a long time it did not seem to have whatever obscure thing I was looking for. Now, more and more, it is becoming a first source for information.

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