Reading Response 5 – Emily-Rose Gibbons

In response to Geert Lovink’s Capturing Web 2.0, Networks Without A Cause

In this chapter from Lovink’s book Networks Without A Cause, he outlines the dynamic shift in social interaction online in the move from Web 1.0 to 2.0 that relies on “user generated content”. What do you envision Web 3.0 to be and what is the next level of user empowerment?

I envision Web 3.0 to be focused on being even more tailored to users and more specifically, their bodies.

It seems to be a trend that technologies are growing closer and closer to our bodies and brains. Our smartphones have become another sort of unnatural of limb; always in our hands or pockets. There’s even an ever-growing population reporting that their mobile phones are turning into phantom limbs. Many of us feel lost without our phones in hand. The trend of wearable technologies such as the Apple Watch and Google Glass, in my opinion, directly tap into this recently-found dilemma and enable users to never be without the Internet.

                                  now                                                                      future

phone        nano

Web 3.0 would take this idea even further and bring the Internet closer to the human body than ever. I imagine this would occur with the use of nanotechnologies, inserted into the body. The Internet is already a sort of extension of ourselves and our minds (i.e. digital memory, the person we portray online) so with the exception of the need for important prior ethical and medical research and discussion, I believe the next step would be to make it a part of our bodies. Basically, the Internet would be more convenient than ever –it would be a physical part of us.

Throughout the article, Lovink argues for a form of criticism that is specific to the Internet—one that looks at theories about culture and society through the lens of networked technologies. Do you also believe that this is necessary to study as we move forward? Why or why not?

I strongly believe that a form of criticism that is specific to the Internet is needed.

The Internet has its own particular set of symbols, terms, languages and unique cultures that are difficult to describe and analyze without proper criticisms in place. There is certainly a sort of gap in describing and understanding the the Internet nowadays. Having a new form of criticism revolving around the Internet would make this process much easier.

manipulationI feel that having an Internet criticism in place would also make it easier to educate the masses about the functions and inner-workings of Internet. I strongly feel that many people are manipulated by the Internet simply because they do not grasp what it is they are interacting with. It is so common for people to be interacting with the Internet on a daily basis, around the clock. To not be educated about a tool we give so much time and information to can be detrimental –sometimes obviously (i.e. having an e-mail account hacked) and other times not so obviously (i.e. spending money because of tailored advertisements based on previous searches for capitalistic endeavours). Many people get caught up in the convenience of the Internet but fail to acknowledge that these seemingly helpful tools can be sneakily manipulative and frankly, creepy. Having an Internet criticism for educational purposes would likely help prevent this.

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