Lecture Notes: Week 1 » Web 2.0 & Convergence

Posted on March 8, 2011

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After ‘viewing’ Week 1 lecture I was able to gain a better understand of Web 2.0 and Convergence – two things I hadn’t thought much about before.

Web 2.0 isn’t actually a change in technology but a shift in the thinking behind web architecture from just publishing information to enabling functionality and harnessing user participation.

What interested me the most was the fact that the Internet took only 4 years to reach a mass audience of 50 million people while the radio took 38 years – a big contrast in numbers. The iPhone is even more surprising, taking only 1.5 years – a reflection of how mobile Internet is now more used than desktop Internet. This in turn requires interactive designers to be more flexible when designing, as screen size considerations must also be taken into account.

Some examples of Web 2.0 include: Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Ebay, WordPress, Blogspot, LiveJournal, LastFM, Myspace and Flickr. Social networking make up a large portion of Web 2.0 – Facebook alone has over 350 million members all over the world which is almost half the world’s population.

The second part of the lecture introduces us to Convergence, which is the crossover between the: communication network, computing information technology and content media. These are described as the 3C’s of Convergence; community can also be added to the equation – community meaning Web 2.0.

Media Convergence is described by 3 layers by Lawrence Lessig. These layers are the physical layer: network where communication travels and communication devices are interconnected; code layer: code of software that operates communication hardware including protocols; and content layer: content that is delivered through communication infrastructure.

Media convergence, participatory culture and collective intelligence are all part of the convergence culture which sees ‘media convergence’ as ‘the flow of content across multiple media platforms’. These platforms include things like smart phones (most popular platform of choice), Facebook and Google.

I think the most important thing to take away from this lecture is the understanding that Web 2.0 is not a new technology but rather a change in the thinking behind building websites, which means allowing website viewers to become website users. Future interactive designers should aim to enable functionality, interactivity and flexibility within their designs.

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