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Danah Boyd: “consume and produce as a connected process”

A really great post from Danah Boyd: Why Web2.0 Matters, Round Two (which actually looks at a lot more than just Web2.0).

“It is not just about the social component, but introduces the legal, market and technological needs.”

Yes, yes, yes! There are too many people (well, companies/startups/websites-looking-to-become-startups) focusing on just one or two of the four pillars. Article goes on…

“We’ve got to move beyond the global village and focus on how people will repurpose it for their needs. This is why i think that issues of remix are essential to this narrative. What hiphop artists and anime remixers are doing is teaching us what it means to consume and produce as a connected process. In tech land, this is the value of OpenAPIs – this is fundamentally about remixing technology. Of course, all the efforts to legitimize this are dangerous. Part of the glory of hacking and remixing is the rebellious feeling of resistance. More importantly, anyone remixing is understandably wary of the institutions who are opening up or creative commons-ing the process. Aside from not wanting to be told what to do, there is fear of being too reliant on the master. This is part of the trick of OpenAPIs and CC licenses – they allow the owners to maintain power through a different incentive system. You are meant to feel like you have access as long as you want, but the one who giveth can taketh away. That, of course, is a longer conversation. But it’s important to remember that the power issues in remix are not solved by OpenAPIs and CC licenses. Of course, i’m all in favor of OpenAPIs because i think that they will push us further into remix culture, much to the chagrin of current hegemonic institutions. We just need to be careful so that we don’t get it all banned.”

Wow, some really thought provoking stuff there about the user-dynamics of remix culture vs OpenAPI’s from major players. Something definitely for me to reflect on.

I’m a hacker and remixer who finds himself in a large organisation that has slowly converted me (via 4.5 years of enterprise programming). Running I’m torn between the culture I love and the requirements of the business.

In fox hunting here in the UK (a horrid “sport” that is thankfully now banned) they say the enjoyment is derived from the “thrill of the chase”. I guess that’s one of the main drivers I’ve always had when I’ve knocked up stuff like the London Underground delay RSS script and the “better” output versions of projects I’ve built officially for the BBC is that I’m taking on the “big guys” via below-radar methods such as screen scraping and even, ahem, unprotected data sources available via HTTP.

The minute you legitimise all this and even write documentation and nicely package it all up, the “thrill of the chase” is perhaps somewhat lost.

Do we try and derive new buzzes or do we remove an element of the legitimisation? I guess it comes down to why people are remixing – and I don’t currently have an answer to that.

Published in News Thoughts and Rants


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