Stickiness, Spreadability – what’s next? The road to Web 3.0

As now I am applying for jobs and getting no responses, there have been times of self-doubt when I thought it was because of my liberal arts degree that is not helping me to land jobs. In this money-driven, profit-fueled society, perhaps a practical and more vocational approach to digital would have benefited better – I used to think. Why did I not go for a degree in which I learn step by step on how to maximize SEO, how to take advantage of a brand’s online presence, how to draw more customer engagement? Empirical studies and practices that would look good on my resume. However, after this week’s reading Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture by Jenkins, Ford, and Green, and throughout this seminar, I have found my answer and gotten rid of that doubt: I choose this degree not to learn things on the surface. I want to understand extensively and thoroughly why all these trends are taking place in contemporary media environment, why participants behave in such a way in virtual places and how networked culture affects our society. I want to know the reasons why the digital world is happening before I can be part of it.

In this book, Jenkins, Ford, and Green examine the roles of participants in a networked culture by contrasting sticky content and spreadable content. “Stickiness” refers to “the need to create content that attracts audience attention and engagement” (4), a term coined by Gladwell in his highly influential work The Tipping Point; it means to “centralize the audience’s presence in a particular online location to generate advertising revenue or sales”. “Spreadability” refers to the circulation of content made by participants and in online location.

Spreadablity is directly related to  and influenced by the emergence of Web 2.0 that represents:

a reorganization of the relations between producers and their audience in a maturing Internet market, as well as a set of approaches adopted by companies seeking to harness mass creativity, collectivism, and peer production (Van Diijk and Nieborg, qtd. in Jenkins et al, 49)

Participants in the Web 2.0 movement are now offered the role of active collaborators as ” rather than passive recipients of information and ideas as:

Markerters have increasingly emphaszied transmedia campaigns, interactive experiences, and participatory platforms encouraging such co-creation. The tenets of Web 2.0 entice audience members to join in the building and customizing of services and messages rather than to expect companies to present complete and fully formed experiences (49)

Yesterday a cool monsieur  we all know of was so excited (I guess?) about trying out a Google Glass that he posted his selfie 4 times in a row on Twitter. As soon as I see a Google Glass, I’ll start thinking about the participatory culture phenomena and privacy concerns. 72% of Americans still refuse Google glass, according to a market research conducted by Toluna, citing privacy as the main reason. However, towards the end of the seminar, I’ve started to reflect on another question.

As Jenkins et al argue in the book:

More fundamentally, we have to understand the cultural practices that have both fueled the rise of these sharing technologies and evolved as people discover how these platforms might be use (11)

and that

This set of social and cultural practices, and the related technological innovations which grew up around them, constitute what we call a “networked culture”. These cultural practices were certainly not created by new technologies

Throughout the semester we have discussed extensively about the ways in which digital technology has been changing contemporary society, and how this digital, networked culture is creating a new set of norms. From user-generated content, the dispute between engaged and exploited labor, theory of content sharing, redefinition of magazines in the digital age, participatory culture that fuels fandom, visual effects in film, how technology is changing film marketing practices, concerns about network privacy or the digital divide, we have covered various aspects of the ever-changing digital landscape. That all belongs to the 2.0 phenomenon – the networked culture. At this point I’ve started to wonder: What will the road to Web 3.0 look like?

Is Google Glass the start of the Web 3.0 process? Or is it Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus? Web 2.0 is an interactive, social web that facilitates collaboration between users and producers, among producers, and among users themselves.The term was coined in 2004 by Dale Dougherty, vice-president of O’Reilly Media and became very popular in 2004. It took ten years to move from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, when will Web 3.0 arrive? Do you think it’s just around the corner? Do you think it will be a culture of only user-generated content and constant sharing? Or the web of artificial intelligent on which your every single move will be recored, predicted, and suggested? Or will it be a World Wide Virtual Web, where users are required to use head-mounted gears and immerse in a virtually constructed environment? The rising emergence of wearable technology and virtual reality devices may as well be seen as a sign of this.

Whatever the future has to offer, I am excited (and concerned, a bit) to see it. If it were to be a World Wide Virtual Web where we would be made in 3D avatars, they’d better make me look a bit more like Emma Watson.

Works Cited

Jenkins, Henry et al. Spreadable media creating value and meaning in a networked culture. New York: New York University Press, 2013.

Nations, Daniel . “What is Web 3.0? What Will Web 3.0 Be Like?.” Web Trends. (accessed ).

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