Davis Analytical Report

User Diary

How much time, each day, do you spend using Web 2.0 technologies (a Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with other users or to change website content)?

My web experience has basically been one directional - things come from the web to me, and I don’t contribute a whole lot back. The Web 2.0 revolution just hasn't managed to lure me in like it has everyone else. I don’t use Facebook, I don't use Twitter, I don’t blog, I’m basically not on the radar when it comes to the social networks that exist on the web. Even when I’m required to participate, I try to spend as little time as possible. As in, write up things I need to put on the Wiki beforehand, and then toss it on. And I know a lot of other people in the class are pretty much doing the same thing, and it doesn’t actually foster the sort of interaction and community that makes this sort of media successful, but it just doesn’t seem like something that can be forced. When people use Web 2.0 media they just seem to have a certain natural passion that keeps them actively participating, and for some reason, I just seem to be completely devoid of that sort of interest.

The result of the above, and the short answer I feel like this question is looking for, is that I spend less than half an hour a week dealing with Web 2.0 (not even consistent enough to say I spend 5 minutes a day with anything). Since you get those updates when I do something with the KM Wiki, you pretty much have an idea of the times and brief minutes I spend with Web 2.0. The thing is, I don’t currently use Web 2.0 basically at all, but that’s not to say I haven’t dabbled a bit in things in the past. Many years ago I played around with web forums and blogs (before they were cool…or, whatever it is they are now), and at least spent a few minutes on Facebook (before the default security was raised it was more interesting to just kind of cruise people's pages), but nothing has really stuck and appealed to me.

Which technologies do you use to access the web? How frequently?

I have a feeling that a lot of people will say they use their phones to connect to the web 24/7, or that they're constantly hooked to their laptop or netbook during classes, but that just isn’t me. Since I'm not a Web 2.0 addict, I don’t really feel the need to be distracted by pointless conversations and useless tidbits at all hours. I pretty much just check the web on my PC while I’m at my apartment, and that’s it. As far as doing webby things though, I probably don’t spend more than an hour a day checking the news or looking at random websites.

How, and how often, do you use the interactive aspects of the web? Which interactive sites, platforms and services you use?

The obvious absence of Web 2.0 sites aside, the most interactive I tend to get with the web is sites that have practical purposes. For example, checking my bank account, paying bills online, that sort of thing. I'm not even sure if that counts as what you're looking for, but forcing me to log into a site and having useful information in there is basically my equivalent of Web 2.0's abundance of personal information (more readily available to the general public, mind you).

How many different web sites do you visit in a given week? How offend do you return to frequently visited sites?

Less than a dozen sites I would say, and very few sites really are able to offer me something unique enough to have me specifically return to that site (rather than just going with whatever is in the top Google results for what I’m looking for). Obviously for media sites, YouTube and Hulu will have more readily and easily available video. And for sites regarding certain forms of creativity, like web comics, the particular site does affect the content in a unique way. But usually if I’m reading news or looking up information (the subjective type, not Wikipedia fact sort of things), I just toss it in Google and browse a few random sites until I find what I’m looking for, or get bored and frustrated and realize that I don’t care enough to keep looking.

Name the kinds of interactive and static sites you use most frequently. How would you describe their content and the kinds of knowledge and information they provide?

I think I touched on those above, but I'll recap. Usually I watch videos off of sites, read web comics, and check out news articles — mostly static stuff. For me, the web is something of a personal experience, and I have no particular interest in sharing my web time with the entire world. In general I’m wary of interactive sites, since usually the fuel for their interactivity is access to information that might be better off (and is certainly safer off) not being disclosed. And that just doesn’t feel very comfortable for me.

Do you trust these sites as sources of knowledge and information? Do you trust sites that provide certain kinds of information over other kinds of information? Have you used the information on a site — medical information, recipes, personal or relationship information, political information, educational information — during the week of your report? What were the results of using that information?

I think I know enough by now to be skeptical about any and all information on the web. And I’m certainly cautious enough not to use any information from the web to make any sort of life-altering decisions. The problem with the web is exactly the same as its strength: anyone can write anything and there is no standard or requirement for fact-checking. This means that there’s a great wealth of information to be had, but also a great deal of utter crap to sift through. Basically I just have to run everything through my own BS-filter. Because sometimes I feel like I trust larger, more popular, older, better established organizations on the web as sources of information, but even these aren’t subject, since more powerful sources also have a tendency to employ spin doctors. Basically the warning from academics to students about Wikipedia is generally good advice for the web in general: use it as a starting point, but make sure to validate the information with other sources in the real world.

How do you use Web 2.0 sites? Do you post information, leave comments, chat?

I’d have to go with none of the above. Maybe some people have a deep burning desire to share every detail of their lives with the world, but I don’t. And outside of personal information, I don’t feel like I have a whole lot to contribute that is unique enough to bother. When you have as many people connected as there are on the web, the odds of something negative happening as a result of contributing far outweigh the odds of something positive happening.

What kinds of interaction do these sites enable and encourage? Consider the structure, features and settings (for privacy and the like) these sites have. Are there explicit rules and implied norms for using a particular site? What judgments do you make about someone or something Do you "follow the rules" or some sort of social protocol in using interactive sites?

Are we talking about Web 2.0 sites? Just because I don’t actually use these sites doesn’t mean I don’t try to stay informed about them. I don’t want to get too involved in something that doesn’t interest me in case it turns out to just be a fad, but I also try not to remain ignorant in case this really does turn out to be the way of the future, and I’m forced to either adapt or lose touch entirely with the rest of society (I’m arguably pretty isolated as it is).

It seems like Web 2.0 sites are increasingly trying to provide and accommodate every possible form of media and interaction. For example, Facebook is basically the Borg. Anything people want enough to go somewhere else to do it, Facebook tries to incorporate. So it just gets bigger and bigger. And the funny thing (for me at least) is that in trying to be a one-stop-shop for anything and everything, Facebook is quickly beginning to resemble portal sites of the early Internet.

I think one of the reasons social media sites don’t appeal to me is that I’m something of a rule-breaker. I’m definitely chaotic in my interactions with others, and the world seems to be pretty unfriendly about that sort of thing. But there are apparently a lot of rules and norms that people are expected to follow, but they aren’t always the most obvious (and I’m not exactly the quickest at picking up on that sort of thing). Obviously the laws of the physical world also apply here, but there’s some sort of unspoken, unwritten code in effect that only heavy-users of these sorts of sites are familiar with. And they are apparently either unable or unwilling to divulge this sort of knowledge to the uninformed, which makes breaking into these sorts of networks not an easy task. Basically, the exact sort of scenario KM seems to deal with.

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