A few weeks ago I wrote about preparing for this presentation for OER23. I had no idea how fitting the title would be given the previous day left me with a hangover from exhilaration that I was nursing much of the day. But it worked pretty well for this talk because while I was super excited to start describing the karaoke scene at Johnny Foxes the night before….
…much of the rest of the talk was a much calmer meditation on the federation of blogs in the heady Web 2.0 days thanks to RSS and trackbacks to suggest how that overlaps with the sense of excitement and promise of a federated web experience using Web3 tools like Mastodon driven by ActivityPub. I think there may be a recording of the session with slides available at some point, and if so I will grab a copy and link it here. I do have the slide deck with links, and even without the audio it gives a pretty good sense of the talk given it was pretty straightforward.
It was a session that provided an occasion to reflect on blogging and the technology that undergirds that practice as an ongoing force of open education. It’s an idea that’s still near and dear to the work I do and the raison d’être of this site, and being in a room with people who have blogged, still blog, or may even start blogging is always a thrill. I also tried to pay homage to Jon Udell, whose work continues to be crucial for my understanding of the the web, given he helped the talk take shape via interactions on Mastodon—in many ways making my point for me.
But let me break down the highlights and include links here so they are not locked away in a Google Slide deck. I should really be using SplotPoint!
The first slide was basically the punchline to the talk title, and is an assignment created by ds106 alum Sarah of I’m Like So Blonde fame. The question is who looked hotter online? And who is Web 2.0? And who is Web3?
The above slides are basic one-liner definitions and proof I was there when Web 2.0 started 🙂
I talked a bit about Web 2.0 and Tim O’Reilly’s framing of the shift away from Web 1.0, to a more user-driven, social web. I then talk a bit about how Jon Udell’s feedback on Mastodon helped me frame the talk around RSS, trackbacks, permalinks, and some of the Web 2.0 technologies that made blogging much more about participation, interaction, and sharing rather than Publishing with that intentional capital “P.”*
I then do the contractual shout-out to ds106 and the assignment bank, which is driven by participation using tagged RSS feeds, which stands as a brilliant DIY example of a Web 2.0 teaching and learning application built on top of WordPress.
I then paraphrase Udell’s note that Twitter has devolved into “Brands talking to brands,” which rings so true, and how Web3 and the open protocols such as ActivityPub are reminiscent of the OG days of blogging.
I also provide some very cursory definitions of Web3, and I believe the web3.foundation is a legit organization, but I am nervous Mike Caulfield is going to tell me it is a Russian front website for the overthrow of Western ideals. But I think it was founded by Gavin Wood who is the CTO of Ethereum, and while a bit Dick Blockchainy flirting with the whole liberterian ethos—which scares me—I think the basic definitions hold-up. But I will acknowledge this is a place I could have done more research and waiting until after karaoke-palooza the night before the talk was not good planning 🙂
I then talked about Jon Udell’s discussion of Twitter and the attention economy and why I’m shifting my attention to Mastodon given there’s a sense of possibility and excitement that has long been gone for me on Twitter. I skipped a few slides in this summary, but that’s a general jist of the talk.
But I’m no longer employed in the attention economy. I just want to hang out online with people whose words and pictures and ideas intrigue and inspire and delight me, and who might feel similarly about my words and pictures and ideas. There are thousands of such people in the world, not millions. We want to congregate in different online spaces for different reasons. Now we can and I couldn’t be happier. When people say it can’t work, consider why, and who benefits from it not working.
One of the salient points made in the follow-up Q&A by Anne-Marie Scott, discussing the above quote from Jon Udell’s aforementioned post, was beyond hanging out with people you like in these new spaces, communal servers like social.ds106.us offer the potential for shared management to ensure they remain troll-free and folks adhere to the server’s stated policies. The invisible work of managing social media comes back to the community in Web3, and that represents a form of labor and connection with the spaces that suggest a powerful shift that needs to be recognized and negotiated. In fact, Anne-Marie was full of insightful comments like this throughout OER23, and I would like to thank her for bringing that brilliance to this talk. Anyway, it was a fun talk in a warm, welcoming room at a brilliant conference. Thanks OER23!
*There was a time during the early blogosphere days when the MSM, or main stream media, was the enemy. Blogs were an alternative press that had the reach and possibility to challenge the dominant narrative, whereas Web 2.0’s consolidation into a few popular social networks would eventually make it just another commodified publishing outlet.