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THE PARTICIPATORY WEB

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This paper makes three contributions: first, we suggest a clear, concise definition of Web 2.0, something that has eluded other authors, including the Tim O'Reilly the originator of the concept. Second, prior work has focused largely on the implications of Web 2.0 for producers of content, usually corporations or government agencies. This paper is one of the few analyses of Web 2.0 from the point of view of users. Third, we characterize the creative activity of Web 2.0 users. In addition to their active content production, they are unusually active users of the Internet for entertainment. In multivariate models predicting Web 2.0, the most consistently important variables are technical ability, comfort revealing personal data and, particularly, Web 2.0 confidence. These variables suggest that despite the apparent simplicity of FaceBook or of typing a book review on Amazon, ability remains very important in the eyes of users. For many, there appears to be something daunting about contributing to Web 2.0 activity and many potential users remain, rightly or wrongly, uncertain of their ability to make a contribution. We conclude that the study of Web 2.0 can tell us much about how the Internet is unique, and that it warrants a significant scholarly attention.
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Keywords: ICTs; Web 2.0; digital divide; media studies

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, 1 St GilesOxford,OX1 3JS, United Kingdom

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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