Web 2.0: What Are We Building?

Back in 2004, I asked:

“What are we actually building here?  A lot of people in my profession wear rose-colored glasses and believe we’re helping to make information free to the world, but some of the early proponents of television believed the same thing.  Are we really just building the next version of TV, one even more powerful because it knows your name and shopping habits?”

I thought I was being cynical then, but now I’m not so sure.  Google continues to carve out a huge share of the Internet advertising market, in large part by figuring out what we’re paying attention to. The quality of the content doesn’t really matter to them – only the number of eyeballs they can advertise to does.  Sounds a lot like commercial TV, doesn’t it?

So far, has the Web been better than TV, or just more targeted?  And is it really worth giving up so much privacy in order to get it?

4 thoughts on “Web 2.0: What Are We Building?

  1. People (here: designers and programmers) tend to conform to the mass standards.
    The mass standards lie somewhere between entertainement and entertainement. We live in a lazy society. We live in the consume/entertainement+we are so bored world. Google does it.
    I don’t. I see the masses going the wrong way.
    Hey … it always has been that way
    the Web changes nothing
    The Stock Exchanges do hurt… hurt a lot

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  2. I dreamed the other night that I was in a Heavenly place. I was walking on streets of gold, had a mansion with a big pool, beautiful grass, the smell of roses and flowers, and wonderful scenery all around. Then while walking I happened upon a billboard for Viagra. I awoke with a start, but comforted in the fact that it was only a dream…. and all the advertisers will be in Hell anyway. LOL

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  3. Funny, I was thinking of things along these lines while listening to a BBC podcast (downloaded via FeedStation thank you) and one guest was advocating that search companies allow full access to the information that is collected about us. I believe I’ve heard that sentiment here before?
    Of course the whole thing invites a local vs. cable TV analogy. Being assaulted with ads is bread and butter for basic TV yet if you step up and pay actual cash you can get a much less ad-heavy premium cable channel lineup. The reality is people need to pay for this stuff somehow, whether it’s ads or a pay-service.
    What bothers me most is how ads have turned even common people into horrible little TV stations, with blog posts acting more as link bait to drag more eyeballs to a blog that happens to be littered with ads all over. Titles being carefully crafted to pull more hits or to be inflammatory so it’ll get dugg. It can get rather depressing.

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