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Incantations for Muggles: The Role of Ubiquitous Web 2.0 Technologies in Everyday Life

danah boyd, Doctoral Candidate, School of Information, University of California-Berkeley

Date: Wednesday, March 28
Time: 9:35am - 10:15am
Location: Douglas BC

Over the last few years, the tech sector has been abuzz with talk of social media and Web 2.0 and journalists have been hyping the peculiar things that the MySpace generation is doing. While the "radical" practices of young people and the organizational fetishes of technologists are certainly a curiosity to be examined, the real shift is happening in the lives of everyday people without an ounce of reflexivity.

Google has become the go-to person for questions about health symptoms. Yahoo! Local has replaced the Yellow Pages for providing insight about local restaurants. People have connected around all sorts of common ground to share everything from recipes to confessions of secrets that have been long held. Elderly citizens are jumping online to do their genealogy research and diaspora communities are conversing across geographical boundaries. With the vast majority of Americans online, the content of Web 1.0 has been ubiquitously integrated with the social technologies of Web 2.0 to provide a seamless experience for all sorts of people.

Our society has become fundamentally networked. People are sharing content and creating culture along the way. So what does this mean? Are practices evolving or is it simply the underlying architecture that is shifting? Why have common adult practices been invisible as they go digital while teen practices continue to provoke moral panics as new technologies are incorporated into them?

In this talk, Boyd will seek to step out of our techno-centric worldview and dive into the everyday practices that are affected by the rise of Web 2.0 technologies. By unpacking the magic, Boyd will try to shed new light on the implications of the systems that we develop and analyze the ways in which architectural shifts are affecting the way we live.