A piece of burnt charcoal and a cave's wall

Sun 21 September 2008

I use a lot of Web 2.0 sites like flickr, youtube, twitter, friendfeed and linkedin on a daily basis and I think they are elegant. I think the term I use to group them is crap. Web 2.0 tells me nothing about what they have in common and confuses me when it comes to their history as it suggests it's all about a sock dog 2.0.

One of the things all those sites have in common is user contributions. We all do it, but why do we spend countless hours twitting, uploading, writing and editing? What is the motivation and what is the role-model we chase? I discovered quite a few role-models - David Willis for blogers, Lonely Girl for video, Linus for kernel coders, Randall Munro for comics and Guido van Rossum for python programmer to name a few.

To me they are all artists, or at least gifted artisans whose art will be grokked by future generations. Arts origins date way back, long before the sock dog:

Cave Paintings are paintings on cave walls and ceilings, and the term is used especially for those dating to prehistoric times. The earliest known European cave paintings date to 32,000 years ago. The purpose of the cave paintings is not known. The evidence suggests that they were not merely decorations of living areas, since the caves in which they have been found do not have signs of ongoing habitation. Also, they are often in areas of caves that are not easily accessed. Some theories hold that they may have been a way of transmitting information, while other theories ascribe them a religious or ceremonial purpose.
I don't think the caveman purpose was other than:
...connecting with peers, achieving a certain level of fame, notoriety, or prestige, and the desire to express oneself.
(from Wikipedia's User Generated Content)
The piece of charcoal grew to be a twitt, a post, a bookmark, a photo, a video. The cave's wall matured into Web 2.0 sites or as I think we should call them WallX.