The most interesting aspect of the course is that it provide a theoretical framework of the social media, as actually part of our life is immersed in the social media. The design of social media campaign helps us familiarize the uses of social media technologies and practices, and develop the skills to critically analyze social media forms, services and cultures.
The Concept of Web 2.0
Web 2.0 describes a new way of how people use the Internet and how Internet companies provide services to their customers.
For example, Ofoto, an online photo service founded in 1999, allowed users to upload their digital photos to its server to create an online photo albums and share with friends. This service was continued after Kodak purchased Ofoto and renamed it as Kodak Gallery. However the online sharing service was not completely free, if the customers do not pay any fees to one of the services like prints or photo books, the pictures would be deleted after 90 days.
In Web 2.0, for most of people today, this kind of policy may seem to be ridiculous. With a simply a click, users can upload pictures as much as they want to the Facebook, Instagram or Flickr, which do not charge any cent. Web 2.0 portrays a business model whereby a service is provided, instead of selling products or promoting static artifacts. (Knobel & Wilber 2009)
Web 2.0 does not have a hard boundary, but a gravitational core. (O’Reilly 2005)
The shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 has brought the world a very broad definition. Interaction and participation can be contributed to the essence of Web 2.0. Due to the increasing availability of online services and editing application or software, users can participate fully into the online world with less skill requirement. People can simply create a personal blog without learning the C language or Dreamweaver. In Web 2.0, the Internet has created a space for people who share the same interest, and it has enabled people to discuss, comment and post their ideas without obstacles. Lankshear and Knoble (2006) argued that the change to Web 2.0 is a completely new outlook rather than purely the development of new ways of doing things.
Active and Creative Production
A research conducted by Andersen (2007) indicated that Web 2.0 is related to ideas that change the way of people’s interaction and it is more than a series of new technologies and services. According to Andersen, Web 2.0 does not relate to any modifications in the architecture of the internet, instead, it refers to changes at the level of user experiences.
Hinton and Hjorth (2013), authors of the book Understanding Social Media, mentioned that Web 2.0 describes the ideas of making it effortless for people to publish information on the Internet, and it is more relates to provide people with the way for producing and publishing content.
As consumers, people were, in the past, passively fed by information such as newspaper, TV program and radio which only offer a fixed amount of information and whose contents are decided by the editors of the media.
It can be said that audiences are being fed under Web 1.0. Hinton and Hjorth (2013) also reported that “Under the ‘read’ model of Web 1.0, people need to create their own website if they want to send out information online, which required a lot of professional and technical skills.” Web 2.0 helps people produce content with less effort, and largely increase the amount of contents that are put online.
Under Web 2.0, users can break through the limit of production to actively and easily produce and consume something that they are interested in. Microblogs, for example, allows users to post small amount of content such as message, images, and videos.
Social Media under Web 2.0
Microblog from Sina Corporation is the Chinese version of Twitter. Better known in China as Weibo, it is more of a hybrid of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which is one of the most popular sites in China. Users can generate no more than 140 characters in a post with picture, video and music. With the “@username” in the post or in the comment of the post, users can mention someone to the post or talk to someone by “@ing” him or her. It is no longer a “producer to consumer” model, but instead it is a “user to user” form as everyone can create content and share with anyone he or she want. Weibo is more like an online newspaper, magazine and TV channel.
It contains nearly all aspects of people’s life including technology, economics, stock markets, sports, academics, arts, educations, travel, games, society etc. People just need to follow the accounts in certain area that they are interested in, then they can get a whole bunch of information in that area. It creates a community that users can receive all kinds of information, leave comment and communicate with others. Under Web 2.0, Weibo not only act as a media, but also a social media that is remediated from the traditional media like newspaper and TV program, and Web 2.0 makes the social media become social.
Another example is Dianping.com, a Chinese restaurant, entertainment and services review and daily deals website, also known as “China’s Yelp”. The Dianping APP have more than 250 million accumulated unique users. Its function of finding the best and most recommended restaurants, hotels and shops around the users makes it to become an indispensable smartphone application for its users. Dianping acts as a bridge connecting people and the merchant.
For example, after the consumption, people can leave a comment, upload photos of the food, and give a mark of the taste and environment of a restaurant that is listed in Dianping. Therefore, it is convenient for the travelers or new comers to get to know how the ranking of the restaurant is and what is recommended by most of the customers.
Its great success of making users fully interacted and providing a way to share the experience of having a meal is a typical characteristic of Web 2.0. The pattern of letting the users to get information from other users is more convincible than putting money on advertisement.
Problem of using social media
Hinton and Hjorth (2013) also addressed the control problem under Web 2.0 by indicating two circumstances that firstly, as the users themselves, they are powerful because they can create contents to the audience, while secondly, users are the subjects of control, as the media companies observe the personal information.
In the edge of big data, companies will not give up any chance to repurpose any kind of data from their customer. Social media seems to be a tool for media companies to generate economic power. Users are actually the value of those companies, and the amount of data collected by companies like Google and Apple in order to get advantages in market campaign is far beyond people’s imagination.
As Vaidhyanathan (2012) said in The Googlization of everything, ‘we are not Google’s customers: we are its product’. Users should pay attention to the media companies who can secretly grab a whole bunch of information from them. It is the users’ information that contributes to the improvement of the company.
For most of the young people today, it is impossible for them to live without Internet or access to SNSs like Wechat or Facebook, and due to this kind of dependency, people become more controllable.
This article reviewed the concept of Web 2.0, and how it relates to social media. It is a lot more than the advance of technology and user itself is the core of the Internet. It is an attitude of how company behaves in the online world, and it is a new lifestyle for people. Actually it increase both user’s and media company’s control in their environment respectively. People can decide what to be fed, what to create and respond while Internet companies gain more control over the business environment.
Andersen, P. (2007). What is Web 2.0?: ideas, technologies and implications for education (Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 1-64). Bristol: JISC.
Hinton, S., & Hjorth, L. (2013). Understanding social media. Sage.
Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2006). New literacies (2nd ed.). New York: Open University Press
Knobel, M., & Wilber, D. (2009). Let’s talk 2.0. In Educational Leadership.
Vaidhyanathan, S. (2012). The Googlization of everything:(and why we should worry). Univ of California Press.