The Social Web
Web 2.0 What Went Wrong?

Course Description

Is it feasible to live ethical, meaningful lives in the context of the Social Web today?
This course formulates a critique of the Social Web. Based on the rapid growth of participation in social life online and in mobile space-- from social news, referral, social search, media sharing, social bookmarking, tagging, virtual worlds and social networked games, social mapping, IM, social networking, blogging and dating, this class formulates a critical analysis of the international Social Web with regard to privacy, intellectual property, and the utilization of social creation of value through the lens of a small number of case studies in the areas of education, political activism, and art. The course starts with a history of computer-facilitated networked sociality. We’ll discuss the preconditions, motivations, and typologies of participation in order to then start to debunk the Web 2.0 ideology. The course concludes with an examination of the future of the Internet (mobile social space, net neutrality, and the changed nature of the digital divide) in order to then locate fields of possibility for social change.

Key theoretical texts that we’ll study include Yochai Benkler’s Wealth of Networks, Henry Jenkins’ Convergence Culture, Trebor Scholz’ What the MySpace generation should know about working for free, Jurgen Habermas on the Internet and the public sphere, Fred Turner’s Where the Counterculture Met the New Economy, Jeff Jarvis’ “Who Owns the Wisdom of the Crowd? The Crowd.,” Nicholas Carr’s “Sharecropping the Long Tail,” Michael Hardt’s “Affective Labor,” Olga Goriunova’s “From Art on Networks to Art on Platforms“ and Adam Arvidsson’s “The Crisis of Value and the Ethical Economy.”

This is a theory-based course that also teaches you to participate, discuss and analyze practices on the Social Web (e.g., the use of Facebook, Twitter, IM, blogs, SecondLife).



• Week 1 (Jan 15/17)
Overview and Introduction to the Syllabus

Listen to Video Cast

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• Week 2 (Jan 22/24)
A History of the Social Web

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Required Readings:
Allen, Christopher. "Life With Alacrity: Tracing the Evolution of Social Software." Life With Alacrity. 13 Oct 2004. 12 Jul 2007 <>.

"History of the Internet." the history of computing project. 19 Mar 2001. 17 Jul 2007 <>.

Suggested Reading:
Kelly, Kevin. "Wired 13.08: We Are the Web." Wired News . 1 Jan 2005. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

• Week 3 (Jan 29/31)
A History of the Social Web

Required Readings:
Donath, Judith. "Sociable Media." Sociable Media Group - MIT Media Lab. 15 Apr 2004. 9 Jul 2007 <>.

Turner, Fred. "Where the Counterculture Met the New Economy ." Stanford. 1 Jan 2007. 26 Aug 2007 <>

Scholz, Trebor. "A History of the Social Web (draft)." 26 Sep 2007. 1 Oct 2007 <>.

Suggested Reading:

"List of social networking websites - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Main Page - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 16 Jul 2007. 16 Jul 2007 <>.

Udell, Jon. "Tag mania sweeps the Web | InfoWorld | Column | 2005-07-20 | By Jon Udell." InfoWorld - Information Technology News, Computer Networking & Security. 2 Jul 2005. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

"Social Software Timeline / Many-to-Many Space." Socialtext Documentation / Socialtext Documentation. 1 Jan 2007. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

Glickman, Matt, and Mark Horton. "Netnews History - Usenet Server, Jim Ellis, Tom Truscott, Steve Bellovin." Internet history, design, web, email.... 1 Jan 1996. 17 Jul 2007 <>.

• Week 4 (Feb 5/7)
Social Isolation, the Public Sphere and the WWW

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Required Readings:

Boeder, Piter. "Habermas' heritage." First Monday. 21 Aug 2005. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

Kluge, Alexander, Peter Labanyi, and Oskar Negt. Public Sphere and Experience: Toward an Analysis of the Bourgeois and Proletarian Public Sphere (Theory and History of Literature). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Kellner, Douglas. "Habermas, the Public Sphere, and Democracy: A Critical Intervention." Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. 1 Aug 2007. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

• Week 5 (Feb 12 /14)
The Participatory Turn

Guest Speakers:

Mark Deuze, author of Media Work

Howard Rheingold, Internet pioneer, author of Smart Mobs

Tuesday: Who Cares? The Social Web in Numbers

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Required Reading:

Rosen, Jay. "PressThink: The People Formerly Known as the Audience." Department of Journalism at New York University. 27 Jun 2006. 16 Jul 2007 <>.

Heuer, Chris. "Social Media Club- The Importance of Social Media." Social Media Club. 19 Sep 2006. 11 Jul 2007 <>.

Suggested Reading:

"Top 10 highest traffic websites." Canadian Content Forums. 27 Jan 2007. 12 Jun 2007 <>.

"Nielsen BuzzMetrics - Bloggers' Top-Cited Wikipedia 2006 Entries: "Web 2.0," "Steve Irwin" and "Mark Foley Scandal," Says Nielsen BuzzMetrics." MarketWire. 13 Dec 2006. 9 Jul 2007 <>.

Hamman, Robin. " "nearly 50%" of US users visit social networking sites...sort of." 15 May 2006. 27 Jun 2007 <>.

Thursday: Quality. The Wisdom or Ineptitude of Networked Publics

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Required Reading:

Lanier, Jaron. "Edge; DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism By Jaron Lanier." Edge. 30 May 2006. 31 Jul 2007 <>.

"Reactions to Digital Maoism. Many-to-Many:." Many-to-Many:. 3 Feb 2006. 27 Jun 2007 <>.

Suggested Reading:

Levy, Pierre. Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace. New York: Plenum Publishing Corporation, 1999.

• Week 6 (Feb 19/21)
The Web 2.0 Ideology

Guest speakers:

Andre Lemos, leading Brazilian scholar on network culture

Kanarinka, artist

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Required Reading:

Best, David. "Web 2.0Next Big Thing or Next Big Internet Bubble?." Lecture Web Information Systems. 11 Jan 2006. 9 Jul 2007

O'Reilly, Tim. "Not 2.0?." O'Reilly Radar. 5 Aug 2005. 9 Jul 2007 <>.

O'Reilly, Tim. "O'Reilly -- What Is Web 2.0." O'Reilly Network -- Developers' Hub -- web development, open source development, open and emerging technologies. 30 Sep 2005. 9 Jul 2007

Scharmen, Fred (2006, May). "You Must Be Logged In To Do That!" Yale Arch 752b

Arvidsson, Adam. "Crisis of Value and the Ethical Economy - P2P Foundation." The Foundation for P2P Alternatives - P2P Foundation. 26 Jun 2007. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

Hiram Soltren, Jose, and Harvey Jones. "Facebook: Threats to Privacy." MIT. 1 Jan 2005. 26 Aug 2007

Suggested Reading:
"Web 2.0 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Main Page - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 9 Jul 2007. 9 Jul 2007 <>.

Barnes, Susan. "A privacy paradox: Social networking in the United States." First Monday. 1 Jan 2006. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

Carr, Nicholas. "Nicholas Carr: The net is being carved up into information plantations | Technology | The Guardian." Guardian Unlimited home | Guardian Unlimited. 17 May 2007. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

"Web Worker Daily » Blog Archive The Two-Edged Sword of Web 2.0 «." Web Worker Daily . 29 Mar 2007. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

Mchenry, Robert. "Web 2.0: Hope or Hype? - Britannica Blog." Britannica Blog. 25 Jun 2007. 9 Jul 2007 <>.

Hardie, Martin . "The Factory without Walls." The Factory without Walls. 1 Jan 2005. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

"Facebook | Terms." Facebook |. 24 May 2007. 12 Jun 2007 <>.

• Week 7 (Feb 26/28)
Art and the Social Web

Guest speaker:

David Weinberger, author of Everything Is Miscellaneous Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

(optional: Wednesday, February 27, 3-4pm "Writing Your Thesis" workshop, location tba
with Sarah Bay-Cheng)

Instructor’s lecture from excerpts:

Bishop, Claire. Participation (Documents of Contemporary Art). Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Mit Press, 2006.

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Required Reading:

Goriunova, O.; Shulgin,A. From Art on Networks to Art on Platforms (Casestudies:, and Unpublished, 2006.

• Week 8 (March 4/6)
Political Activism and the Social Web

Required Reading:
Spouse, Ea. "ea_spouse: EA: The Human Story." ea_spouse. 10 Nov 2004. 20 Jun 2007 <>.

"Hello Garci scandal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Main Page - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 24 Jun 2005. 20 Jun 2007 <>.

Zuckerman, Ethan. "My heart is in Accra “; Mapping land distribution in Bahrain." Ethan Zuckerman. 31 Oct 2006. 20 Jun 2007 <>.

The Internet and youth political participation. 1 Dec 2006. 20 Jun 2007 <>

"Bush/Blair Love Song." 19 Dec 2003. 20 Jun 2007 <>.

" - Loans that change lives." - Loans that change lives. 1 Jan 2004. 20 Jun 2007

Dale, Michael, and Warren Sack. "Metavid." Metavid. 27 Apr 2007. 20 Jun 2007 <>.

"FAQ." 1 Jan 2007. 20 Jun 2007 <>.

• Week 9 (March 11/13)
Spring Recess

• Week 10 (March 18/20)
Preconditions and Typologies of Participation

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Which different types (and intensities) of participation can you identify?

Kann, M. First Monday. 27 Jul 2007. 31 Jul 2007 <>

• Week 11 (March 25/27)
Motivations for Participation

Guest Speaker:

Michael Stefanone, Asst. Professor, Department of Communications, SUNY at Buffalo

Harriet Klausner
(unconfirmed) Klausner is an ex-librarian who wrote more than 15,546 reviews on

What motivates people on the Social Web to engage?

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Required Reading:

Gefen, David, and Catherine M. Ridings. " Virtual Community Attraction:Why People Hang Out Online." Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 1 Nov 2004. 31 Jul 2007 <>.

• Week 12 (April 1/3)
The Ethics of Participation. Got ethics? Labor, what?
(The production of value on the Social Web)

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What are ethical standards on both, the side of the users and the corporate platform providers?

What’s the difference between moralistic posturing and discussions about context-specific ethics?

Does talk about ethics mean that we can’t have any more fun?

Do the activities on the Social Web qualify as immaterial labor?

Required Reading:

Scholz, Trebor. " What the MySpace generation should know about working for free - Trebor Scholz 'journalisms' -" home - 3 Apr 2007. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

Roush, Wade. "Technology Review: The Moral Panic over Social-Networking Sites." Technology Review: The Authority on the Future of Technology. 7 Aug 2006. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

Jarvis, Jeff. "BuzzMachine Blog Archive Who owns the wisdom of the crowd? The crowd.." BuzzMachine. 26 Oct 2005. 12 Jun 2007 <>.

Suggested Reading:

Wyrick, Brian, and Dmytri Kleiner. "Infoenclosure 2.0." Mute magazine - Culture and politics after the net. 29 Jan 2007. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

Terranova, Tiziana. "Free Labor." Universitat Oberta de Catalunya UOC. 15 Aug 2000. 12 Jun 2007 <>.

Pollard, Dave. "Finding People to Make a Living With." Recently Changed Weblogs. 7 Feb 2007. 26 Aug 2007 <>.

Rauch, Peter. "Confessions of an Aca/Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins: Fable and Other Moral Tales: A Study in Game Ethics (Part One)." Confessions of an Aca-Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins. 1 Aug 2007. 26 Aug 2007 .

• Week 13 (April 8/10)
Fields of Possibilities

Guest speaker:

Geert Lovink, author of Dark Fiber and Zero Comments 

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What are the core characteristics of the Social Web?

How can networked publics fight back?
Today, is it practical to live ethical lives in the context of the Social Web and mobile social space? If so, tactics could be learned and shared with others.

Required Reading:

Jarvis, Jeff. "New News: Deconstructing the newspaper." BuzzMachine . 18 Jan 2006. 26 Aug 2007

• Week 14 (April 15/17)
The Future of the Social Web

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Required Reading:

Cascio, Jamais. "WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future: The Rise of the Participatory Panopticon." WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future. 4 May 2005. 12 Jul 2007 .

• Week 15 (April 22/24)
Presentations, Finals

Guidelines for Writing

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