After reading What Is Web 2.0, Web 2.0 Storytelling: Emergence of a New Genre, and 7 Things You Should Know About Creative Commons, I think I have a much better idea of what does and doesn’t qualify as Web 2.0. Although these readings make it clear that there is no well-defined boundary, the unifying theme in all of these seems to be openness, as opposed to the relatively closed nature of Web 1.0.
I was already familiar with Creative Commons licensing before I read the Educause article. We spent some time learning about copyright and its alternatives in my first year seminar. We referred to copyrighted works in that class as “read-only,” meaning they do not allow for derivative works. Creative Commons gives intellectual property owners more control, and lets them reserve just the rights they want to, while giving others the right to remix their work. We called CC-licensed works “read-write” or RW.
Creative Commons gives people the freedom to become a part of the creative process and make already great works even better, which isn’t possible with traditional copyright. Similarly, the O’Reilly article talks about the importance of trusting and valuing users as co-creators of content in Web 2.0. Just as Creative Commons is the acknowledgment that allowing “readers” to become “writers” as well can result in valuable derivative works, Web 2.0 is the realization that not only does collaboration on the web work, but it makes just about everything better. The chart below taken from the article compares aspects of Web 1.0 to their Web 2.0 counterparts. You’ll notice that almost every item in the left column is a technology that has been made all but obsolete by the technology on the right which uses a more collaborative approach.
What this means for digital storytelling is that stories on the web no longer have to be mere digitalizations of traditional stories. Now we can take existing stories and turn them into something completely different, and we can create new stories in ways not possible before. Blueful, which I read for Dr. Whalen’s Electronic Literature class last semester, comes to mind. It utilizes what the second article refers to as the Web 2.0 feature microcontent. It tells a story in small chunks spread across various Web 2.0 sites. This obviously wouldn’t be possible in print form or in a strictly Web 1.0 environment where users can’t generate and distribute content in so many ways, nor would it have the same impact as a single, static page.
Web 2.0 opens up the Internet in ways that benefit all storytellers. It means that people who didn’t have a platform to tell their stories before, now have one that lets them tell share stories in many new and different ways.