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Will Web 2.0 add purpose to writing by artists and designers?

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This article acknowledges the difficulties experienced by many artists and designers who are asked to write, rather than to draw and sketch. The author's own struggle led him to develop software that would not only support his visual art practices, but would also support the need for collaborative processes that are highly creative. The first result was Raindance (1999), a network visualization interface that represented the popularity of a set of broadcast resources by their relative size. More recently, similar, but more writer-oriented practices, such as tagging, cloud technology and blogging, have emerged. These are sometimes described as a more socially oriented paradigm of computing. The article introduces the human computer interaction (HCI) term social navigation and uses it to encompass the many systems currently described as Web 2.0. He reminds readers that social computing systems offer processes that encourage creative thinkers to invent forms of expression that were unknown within paper-based communication systems. These web-based processes support existing and familiar modes of writing, such as notation and text-based narrative. The article cites a series of websites that demonstrate how these unfamiliar processes are also augmenting and transforming existing modes of authorship and readership. The process by which traditional genres can quickly evolve into unforeseen configurations also has the potential to engender new types of creative communities.
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Keywords: Raindance; Web 2.0; blogs; social navigation; tag clouds; writing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Plymouth.

Publication date: 14 December 2007

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  • The Journal of Writing in Creative Practice is the official organ of the Writing Purposefully in Art and Design (Writing PAD) network. It offers art and design institutions an arena in which to explore and develop the notion of thinking through writing as a parallel to visual discourse in art and design practice. The journal aims to extend the debates to all national and international higher educational art and design institutions.
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