Edited by Ruth Towse and Christian Handke
Chapter 7: From prosumption to produsage
Almost a decade after the 2004 OíReilly Media conference which popularized the term ëWeb 2.0í, the impact of this concept on users and developers of the current generation of Web technology ñ and by extension on the digital economy overall ñ is undeniable. At the time, ëWeb 2.0í promised an interactive, engaging online space in which users would be able to do more than surf from static, fixed Website to static, fixed Website. Although the implicit suggestion that the version change to ëWeb 2.0í represented a clean break with this inflexible past must be read as mere marketing hype, the core principles which the concept outlined nonetheless form the operational basis for most mainstream Websites of the present day. Such principles (see OíReilly, 2005) included the customization of the user experience, by embracing on-the-fly Web page creation through AJAX and other database-driven Web technologies which provided an opportunity for users to actively query and select the available information on any given Website. By extension, such technologies offered an additional opportunity for users to become active as content creators and contributors, which fundamentally altered the vertical interaction between Website providers and Website users. In turn, this potential for user participation and content creation enabled the emergence of genuine horizontal collaboration between users, and for the formation of user communities, especially where sufficient functionality was available to make users aware of each otherís activities and to help them coordinate their collaborations.
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