User:JWSchmidt/Blog/1 July 2007
I've been thinking that Wikiversity needs to make a serious effort to not only make it easy for people to participate at Wikiversity and our Wikimedia sister projects, but also the entire Web 2.0 subculture in general.
Thinking Web 2.0
It is still too early to know exactly how people in 2107 will think of Web 2.0, but what interests me are the social implications of computing and networking technologies that facilitate the generating and distributing of Web content itself. An online culture of open computing resources that are free to be shared and re-used is the medium out of which a robust Free Culture movement can grow. Digital media (text, audio, video, software, data) that were rare and expensive at the start of the computer age continue to become cheaper and easier for everyone to create and share. Wikiversity should be a place where people can "learn by doing" and learn how to be full participants in the Free Culture movement.
Finding free content
There is no shortage of people who are making money by making search engines, directories and other tools for shunting people to commercial enterprises. I've been wondering how the millions of participants in the Free Culture movement will be able to efficiently find each other and share their creations. I have several times tried to use tools like Common Content and getcontent to find copyleft media files. but in general it has been a frustrating experience to search for copyleft digital media.
I previously explored Ourmedia when I was looking for a a website that could host Wikiversity Reports podcasts. OurMedia is developing slowly and I recently saw a link at OurMedia to getmedia. The GetMedia search engine allows you to search for media licensed in various ways. It would be nice if there were a general "copyleft" choice. My searches for video turned up mostly video licensed as not for commercial re-use.
Crap or Commercial
A potential problem for copyleft media files is the danger that the digital world will simply divide into two domains: 1) all the freely available crap and 2) those media files that are useful and commercialized. Of course, some silly little item that seems like "crap" to most people could be just the little useful nugget of needed video that one person is looking for.....if that one person only knew how to find it. And everyone else who does find it gets that rising feeling of "there is so much copyleft crap to sort through!".
I like the idea that it might be possible for there to be good ways of efficiently sorting through copyleft media that allow us to find that one "needle in a haystack" that will speed us on our way towards completion of a current project. I've also been thinking about some kind of system for making public requests for needed digital content and finding collaborators for content creation projects. If I needed ten seconds of video showing someone walking into the Empire State Building, it would be great if I could post the request and then within a few days someone would upload such video under a copyleft license. If everyone goes off into 10,000,000 different internet communities, how will potential collaborators find each other?
Networking Web 2.0 communities
I'm devoted to the idea that wikis can be hubs of Web 2.0 content creation, but it is also clear that there are other types of websites where people like to collaborate and share media files. How do we create dynamic networks of collaborators who move freely between all the available Web 2.0 websites?