web 2.0 disillusioned

here’s what i find more and more frustrating about the so-called web 2.0. what matters is less and less the quality of a work than how well their creator or author is connected. if the ability to socially network becomes the defining factor for the success online, this favors people with that particular skill set over people with different talents. as a result the quality suffers.

mexico city by franiska nyffelertaxco zocalo by franziska nyffeler

here’s an example: take on one hand the fantastic photos that my amazing partner franziska nyffeler has been uploading to flickr from her trip to mexico. these are truly artistic photos, intimate without being voyeuristic. she takes risks in her framing, her angles, her lighting, it is innovative, pretty damn great photography, without pretense. yet since she is a rather shy person and does not put much effort into pushing her content around, her photos receive very low page views, around maybe 10 views per photo. and rarely a comment.

fumio nanjo by joi itoiris wu by joi ito

on the other hand there are the mediocre portraits joi ito has been publishing to his flickr account. now let me clarify, i have only the highest regards for joi ito, he is a man of many talents, but his photography is no more than average at best imho. his portraits are often flat, awkward, not well lit. yet his images receive page views in the hundreds, sometimes thousands, and there is even a book published from them.

both works are published under a creative commons license btw. same website, different story. the polemical question to ask here would be: would joi ito’s work receive the same amount of page views, if artistic or even photographic quality was the deciding factor?

i am not pointing fingers, no one is to blame here. i just took these two examples because i am familiar with them, and because i was trying to make my point. now i am all for putting the social into the web, but i think we need a new filter to reintroduce artistic or some other form of content-specific quality into the game.

you could even look at it from a totally different angle. franziska nyffeler is a classically trained, talented artist, willing to publish and share her work, CC-licensed, yet her handicap, so to speak, lies in her social networking abilities and as a result her work gets lost in the maelstrom of user-content. how long will she hold out before getting frustrated? don’t we need to find solutions to give talented, underappreciated people their well-deserved positive feedback online? it is not always where the masses go that you find the good stuff. yet that seems more and more the defining momentum in web 2.0.

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.