Archived entries for Web Services

Local Is Simply You – best description yet of Web 2.0 and Glocalization

This is excellent. Over the last 36 hours, I’ve been chewing on these intersections, not quite seeing how they’re going to end up fitting together. Then along came this new essay by Danah Boyd, “Why Web2.0 Matters: Preparing for Glocalization“, and I’m totally there.

Well, not totally — as she says, it’s “bloody tricky” — but she did give me more than one epiphany moment and the motivation to dig deeper. As I read it, I also started to see answers to questions like these:

  • Why does Friendster (nearly all social networking sites) not hold interest?
  • Why is Google (inbound-link-based search) broken?
  • Why don’t I like some of my friends restaurant recommendations?
  • Why do I care what some blogger’s lat/long is?
  • Is it OK that I have 20 different tag maps tag clouds?

Still with me? Cool, go check it read it. I’m quoting several sections below (taking notes as I read basically), but her piece is lengthy and broad in scope, and worth reading in full.

(emphasis mine):

During the boom, there was a rush to get everything and everyone online. It was about creating a global village. Yet, packing everyone into the town square is utter chaos. People have different needs, different goals.

A global village assumes heterogeneous context and a hierarchical search assumes universals. Both are poor approximations of people’s practices. We keep creating technological solutions to improve this situation. Reputation systems, folksonomy, recommendations. But these are all partial derivatives, not the equation itself. This is not to dismiss them though because they are important; they allow us to build on the variables and approximate the path of the equation with greater accuracy. But what is the equation we’re trying to solve?

But on a personal level, no one actually wants to live in a global village. You can’t actually be emotionally connected to everyone in the world. While the global village provides innumerable resources and the possibility to connect to anyone, people narrow their attention to only focus on the things that matter. What matters is conceptually “local.”

In business, the local part of glocalization mostly refers to geography. Yet, the critical “local” in digital glocalization concerns culture and social networks. You care about the people that are like you and the cultural elements that resonate with you. In the most extreme sense, the local is simply you alone.

When the web started, the hype was that geography would no longer matter. Of course, we know that now to be utterly false. But the digital architecture did alter the network structure of society, allowing interest-driven bonds to complement geographically-manifested ones. Web1.0 created the infrastructure for glocalized networks.

Yet, the responsibility of big Web2.0 companies is to provide flexible glue to all of this innovation, to provide the information infrastructure that will permit glocalization, to allow for openness.

Those are just a few pull quotes. I know I missed numerous great one. If you read it, feel free to quote your favorite sections in my comments, as I’d love to hear what you got from it too.

OK, off to bed.

Thanks,
Nate

Update:

(I didn’t know it until I went back through this post to add links that Danah is a researcher at Yahoo! Research Berkeley.)

Thanks for sticking with me

OK, if you’re seeing this it means you’re subscribed to the correct RSS feed, and/or you’re reading the new site. Thanks for tagging along. I’ll be tweaking this blog a bit more, but mainly I’ll be writing.

Cool things are afoot. My world is full of exciting topics that I’m lookig forward to thinking about out-loud on this blog.

There’s the whole Ajax/DHTML/Rich Internet Application (RIA) thing which is everywhere, and presents both fantastic opportunities to create a more delightful user exerience (faster, more interactive, more familiar) and also new challenges that must be tackled (accessibility, affordances).

I’m excited about browsers too. While there are more browsers on the market than ever before, they’re also of the highest quality we’ve seen. IE7 is around the door, and the word on the street is pretty good. Firefox continues to innovate, and I’m excited to begin developing to the DHTML Accessibility work that IBM has contributed, with the W3C, and that is already live in the alpha’s of Deer Park.

Mobile is still exciting to me, though unfortunately I missed the Mobile Monday event tonight.

And don’t forget about Web Services, the opening of API’s, and the whole so-called Web 2.0 thing. This is, I believe, the beginning of a new phase of design and development of tools and products, as well as a democratization of the same. It’s hard to even imagine at this point how people are going to mix and match to solve problems.

And then there’s the tagging thing, the notion of folksonomy, and the general rise in user generated content and distributed organization.

What excites you these days?

Beautiful API

This page is beautiful: http://www.flickr.com/services/api/. Every service-based web site should have a page like this.

This is a great way to understand and communicate your functionality. If you can’t describe your site in these terms, well, start trying because you should be able to. (You don’t have to make it public.)

I’m not here to talk about the benefits of web services and open APIs — but at least internally, if you can think about your offerings in these clean and explicit terms you’ll be much more successful.

We’ve moved beyond the “If you build it, they will come” days. We’re now in the “If you offer it, they will build it” days. This cool map-based Flickr interface was built because the API existed.



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