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Powerthroughthealgorithm?

Participatorywebculturesandthe
technological
unconscious.
DavidBeer(2009)

TheoverallideaofthispaperisthatastheWebdevelopsandweshapeitwithourpersonal
dataintheformofsocialnetworks,reviews,blogsetc.thatthehegemonpowerisnolongeron
theoutsidebutcreepinginsidethroughourmundaneroutinesonline.

ThereisagreatfocusonWeb2.0whichprobablyhelpsanswerthequestion,Whydo
individualsdivulgeinformationaboutthemselves?wewereencouragedbyTimBLtoputdata
onthewebandshapeitandmakeitourownbybeingparticipatoryandcollaborative.They
dontreferencehimbutitlinkstocreatingaWebculturedefinedbyuserscreationand
involvement.

ThepaperisbasicallyareviewofScottLashspreviouspapersandhisnotionofanewnew
mediaontology.Whatthismeansisthatweliveinaworldwhereinformationbecomesactivein
shapinglifestylesandenvironments.

Ivebrokenupthetitleofthepaperintothreesectionsinwhichmynotesfallunder.

WhatdoesPowerthroughalgorithmmean?

Thepapermakesreferencestotheideaofhowthedatawillbeusedandharvestedobviously
weknownowthesepredictionscametolightwithrecommendedproductsbasedonalgorithms
ofwhatothershavepurchasedoryourpreferencesyouvehighlighted.Algorithmshavethe
capacitytoshapesocialandculturalformationsandimpactdirectlyonindividuallives.Theyare
createdandinformedbytheusersprofilescreatedbyusergeneratedcontent.Social
networksareprettymuchstorageunitsforourpersonallives/largecollectionsofdatawhich
translateasmoneyformarketersakaculturalcircuitsofcapitalism.Vastinformationsources
willbegenerated,whereanyitem,thingorpersoncanhaveitsownuniqueidentitytagsFor
themovementofnewknowledgefrombeingabletogathernewdata.

Societyofubiquitousmediameansasocietyinwhichpowerisincreasinglyinthealgorithm.

WhatdoesParticipatorywebculturesmean?

Weliveinaconfessionalsocietytheongoingemergenceandmainstreamingof
usergeneratedonlinecontentintheformofratherandreviews,blogs,posts,tags,friending
andsoon.Lashseespowerasanegativethathasmovedwithine.g.selforganisation.Rather
thanhegemonoperatingoutsideandaboveithasintegrateditselfintothemundaneroutineof
ourlives.Sinkingintotheeveryday.Workingontheinsideofthesystemislessvisibleand
becomesfarmoredifficulttounmask.Informationtechnologiesnowcompriseorconstitute
rathermediateourlives.Theresultisthatinformationisnotonlyabouthowweunderstandthe
world,itisalsoactiveinconstructingit.

Empowermentandliberationasthepeopleapparentlyreclaimtheinternetandexercisetheir
collectiveintelligence.duetonewshiftofusergeneratedcontent.

marketersincreasinglyusecomputertechnologiestogenerateevermorecarefullydefined
customercategoriesornichesthattagconsumersasdesirableorundesirablefortheir
businesscategorising/segmentingeveryonetofitintoaneatlittleboxtoprofiton.

WhatdoesTechnologicalunconsciousmean?

Itisdescribedasoperatinginunseenandunknownways.

softwarehascometointerveneinnearlyallaspectsofeverydaylifeandhasbeguntosinkinto
itstakenforgrantedbackgroundmakesmethinkofMarkWeiserwhocoinedtheterm
ubiquitouscomputing.Hesbeensayingsincethe1980sabouthowtechnologyneedstoletthe
humanbethehumanandtechnologybetechnology.Thereforehethinkstheyshouldntdisrupt
eachother.Technologieswillbecomeincreasinglypowerfulandubiquitous.

ThesocialconstructionofScientificandTechnicalRealities(Sismondo).

Thispaperarguesthatsocialconstructionhasthreeimportantassumptions:
1. ScienceandTechnologyareimportantlysocial
2. ScienceandTechnologyareactive
3. ScienceandTechnologydonotprovideadirectroutefromnaturetoideasaboutnature.

Thearticlearguesthatscienceandtechnologycontributetotheconstructionofmany
environments.Inrelationtotheweb,wecanseeonlineenvironments,thatthewebhas
created.Forexamplesocialnetworks,thatwouldnothavebeeninexistencebefore.
Sismondothengoesontodiscusshowasuccessfultechnologydrawsontechnical,
socialandeconomicproblems,together.Lookingattheweb,wecanseehowitbuilds
ontechnical(HTTP/FTP),Social(NeedsofCERN),andeconomic(fundingfrom
researchcouncils,workingtomakeflowofknowledgeandworkbetter,thusincreasing
productivityofphysicists,thereforeeconomicinvalue).
Technologiesalongwithbuildingartefacts,alsobuilttheenvironmentsinwhichthey
function(heterogeneousconstruction:simultaneousshapingofthematerialandsocial
world.).e.g.theworldshapesthewebandthewebshapestheworld.Socialmedia
againagoodexample,howpeoplewantedawaytocommunicateonline,nowmostof
ourcommunicationisdonethroughsocialmedia,webchangedourconsumerhabitsetc.
Individualsimposestructureontheworldastheyappreciateit(ImmanuelKaunt)This
automaticallyremindedmeofwhatwassaidinWebArchitecture,didntwetrytoimpose

astructuretotheweb,onceitwasalreadycreated,wewantedtounderstand/appreciate
it,andwethereforeimposedastructureonit.

CouldtheWebbeatemporaryGlitch?(Carr,Pope,Halford)

Coconstructionofsocietyandtechnology
Technologyfacilitatesindividualssharinginformation,causessocietytoexperimentwith
masspublicandopenformsofknowledgetransferforcestechnologytoimpose
protocolslawyersrefinelawsindustryrewriteitsbusinessmodels.(againideaof
socialconstruction)
Newinformationtechnologiescanaltersocietysoperationdidtheweb?
Whatwebwouldwehavehadifitwasnowtheprinciplesofacademic(furthering
knowledge,benefitingsociety,openness,sharing,collaboration,publicresearchfunding)
thatshapedthedevelopmentoftheweb?
AManifestoforWebScience?

SummaryofKeyPoints:

Needlotsofdifferentpeoplestudyingthewebtoanswerquestionssuchasidentity,
psychology,democracyetc.
Willnotagreewhatwebscienceactuallyis,differentvantagepointswillyielddifferent
opinions.
Thereisamutualshapingoftechnology,inthatsocietyshapestechnologybut
technologyshapessociety.soinwebscienceyoulookatboth,butneveronesided.
Webisnotfinishedorfixed.
Thewebasweknowitonlyremainsstablebecauseofitsrelationsbetweenitandits
neighboringentities.e.gservers.
Webisapartofus,itsnotoutsidesociety.
Inequalitiesintheweb,somecanuseittogetrichandpowerfulwhileotherscannot.
Dontassumethatifeveryonehasthewebthenthereisequality.
Webscienceofferstudytocreateabetterworld,sowearetheoneswhohaveto
balancethepower.
Thisarticleaddressesthequestionofhowwebscience,asarelativelynewandemerging
discipline,couldbestudiednot,however,fromacomputersciencestancebutfromaviewpoint
thatencompassesthesocial/humanitysubjects.Thefirstpartofthearticlehighlightsthe
interdisciplinarycharacteristicofwebscienceandhowOtherdisciplineswilladdnew
perspectivesandinterpretationstoit.Tohelpwiththisinterdisciplinaryfocus,fourconceptsare
discussedinrelationtohowtheycanbeemployedinthestudyofwebscience.Theseconcepts
being1)coconstitution,thewayinwhichthewebimpactsonsocietyandviceversa2)
heterogenousactors,hownetworksofhumansandnonhumansshapetheweb3)
performativity,howthewebislessathingwithpeopleconstantlyinteractingwithitand

thereforecontinuallyshapingandchangingitandlastly,4)immutablemobile,howthewebis
notfinished.Obviously,theseconceptsarenotperfect,butitisastarttofindingwaysof
studyingandexaminingfromdifferentstandpoints.Thearticlefinisheswithasuggested
frameworkthatmakesupthemanifesto(below)thatwouldenablewebsciencetobestudied
fromvariousperspectives.

WebSciencemust:

bethegenuineintersectionofdisciplines

lookbothways

followallactors

movebeyondnarrowepistemologiesandmethodologies

beacriticaldiscipline'