Thursday, 27 March 2008

crafts 2.0 : the 90-9-1 rule

Jacob Neilson cites a commonly held web 2.0 'rule' which states that 1% of users will create content, 10% will interact with the content and the remaining 89% will view the material. Neilson continues to say that the phenomenon of participation inequality comes from studies by Will Hill in the early '90s.

I would like to know if this holds out for knitting blogs? Of the knitters I know, the majority have blogs.

Informal observations make me believe that there are many reasons why people blog: some want a blog to 'show and tell' their progress, others want to share their knoweldge and distribute their patterns, others talk about a network effect - having a blog gives a knitter authenticity and is a pre-cursor to being able to participate in online knitting 'swaps'.

Some blogs have many posts, they appear to provide a supportive framework for knitters. Some arouse controversy, but many more seem to be focused on helping and inspiring people and looking for peer-to-peer support and approval.

Does such a rule also apply in this environment?

craft 2.0 : hype or cashing in

O'Reilly Media coined the term Web 2.0. Many have asked if Web 2.0 is intrinsically different from what has come before... hasn't the web always been interactive, by the very nature of hyperlinks?

People interact with texts via hyperlinks, and the ability to post text to websites is nothing new (although the bandwidth to post and watch, for example, videos could possibly be argued to be a more recent phenomena).

So, a cynical reading might suggest that Web 2.0 was merely hype... although an optimistic cynic might say that this hype has lead to a renewed vigour and enthusiasm for the web, filling the void left after the dotcom bubble burst

So, what does it mean when O'Reilly now talks about craft 2.0?

Crafts & web 2.0 can be seen as going hand in hand. There is a proliferation of craft blogs and craft networking sites, over half of the knitters I know have a blog. All but one participate in the Ravelry knitting community site.

So, is Craft 2.0 an attempt by an interested corporate party to hype this phenomenon? Or is this jumping on an already existent bandwaggon? Or merely giving a much needed name to a growing phenomenon?

Is it an attempt to give crafts a 'cool' '2.0' type of label? And in doing so, to increase their popularity and/or create a bubble of enthusiasm and financial backing?

An interesting blog post on this theme can be found here. It mentions that the new Craft magazine [note: the original posting lined to Make - also by O'Reilly, but with a more technological slant] 'was initiated by O'Reilly Media'.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

course reading : McLuhan and Williams

Reading from Martin Lister, Jon Dovey, Seth Giddings, Iain Grant, Kieran Kelly. (2003) New Media: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge

Chapter 1: ‘New Media & New Technologies’
Part 6: New Media: Determining or Determined

Whether or not a media technology has the power to transform a culture

Marshall McLuhan – Media shapes society
Raymond Williams – Technology is appropriated by society.

In terms of this project, I need to consider whether web 2.0 has shaped a new craft movement, or whether web 2.0 allows a continuation of traditional crafts communities, albeit in an online environment. I believe that it is probably doing both.

Web 2.0 has also made crafts more visible, linking people who craft and imbuing crafts with a sense of being ‘cool’.

Monday, 24 March 2008

project progress : March hiatus

The last month has seen me be very busy at work.

Pressure to launch new content on the V&A website (some pressure self-imposed... some due to the opening of the Thomas Hope exhibition) has lead to several late nights and a reluctance to look at a computer outside of work hours.

The upside of this has been weekends spent dress-making and knitting (I shall upload the results of both to BurdaStyle and Ravelry soon)!

The downside has been very little progress on this project. I have read a few papers and a book... but I haven't spent time writing up my notes on this... nor have I spent time thinking more about how this reading relates to my research area.

I must prepare a project proposal for early May. My intention for the project is to write (and present/publish) a paper on/around the subject of knitting blogs & online communities.

Much of my reading up to know has been veering more towards the subject of craft and technology.

But... to successfully write my proposal I feel that now I must now spend some time acquainting myself more with the field of New Media...

...and to use this blog to explore my thoughts of how my studies relate to my experiences of craft and technology.