Have you ever wondered if Web 2.0 is a good thing or not? With any good there also comes bad, so here's my cynical collection of bad practice that I have seen since I was introduced to the path of the new ways of web.
- Sheep Dip - Have you noticed how Web 2.0 appears to be about nominal popularity? Be it the number of followers on twitter or the number of views on an article. Here's the first deadly sin of Web 2.0, using the genuine popularity of something that's buzzing on the net to boost your own "numbers". I see this a lot with my line of work, exergaming. As an example, I would write a blog post about the iPhone 3GS and get a lot of page hits, or I could write a post about the phone I actually know and own (er, Nokia N95 if you're interested) and not get a single click. There's an overemphasis on numbers, that leads to a flock of sheep mentality, and someone always wants to cash in and stand out. Popularity is not a number, it's about quality - be yourself, don't follow and judge the value you add by the response you get, not the numbers!
- Blamming - I must admit, I have never studied genealogy, but it surprises me how many links in my family tree lead back to royalty in some principality of Africa. All I have to do is "click here" and I could be rich from all the $3 million dollar unclaimed legacies left in my name. Wow, don't you just hate spam? I just found out the name for the most annoying type of spamming - "blam". It's using Web 2.0's ability to interact and respond to post links to your own content. Again I see this a lot. You read a decent article on the web and there it is, in the comments, taking up space and devaluing the original article and misdirecting comments - a commerical link, vaguely related to the original content.
- Web 1.5 - This is a great sin, I find it highly amusing. The basis of Web 2.0 is user supplied content and interaction, but you still find those "forward thinking, web savvy" companies out there trying to get in on the act that really don't have a clue. It's those facebook fan pages that don't allow user comments, it's those twitter accounts that never reply to a @question, it's those sites that don't have comments or even name authors (yes bbc.co.uk, I'm looking at you right now!). I guess it's the combination of deadly sins 2.0 numbers 1 and 2 that lead companies to cut all chance to respond? I see user/customer/critique as a most valuable asset, but most of all I think it's rude to just talk and never listen!
- Core Dump - Have you ever had a program crash in Windows? Well, I'll go out on a limb here and bet there isn't a single person who hasn't seen this. To record this you get a dump file - it's full of every piece of data that is on the system at the time, and it's meaningless to almost everyone. Back to the point, there's a sin 2.0 I have seen that's very similar - people who use interaction to just keep talking, just keep posting, just keep overloading a genuine network with meaningless drivel until the network dies a death according to the "meaningless words to valuable content" ratio. Once again, I see a lot of this! This is probably the worst sin, as it's devaluing and dis-respecting others. If you have something to say - make sure you have something to say!
- Web Stalker - I have gotten this sometimes, and its pretty annoying. You find a Web 2.0 site that's relevant and interesting to you, so you interact and engage there. You're finding out about people, learning new ideas and sharing experiences, then hours later your own personal web stalker comes along and hits the site with a combination of blam and core dump. Of course the funniest thing is they ride off the back of what you say, often referring to you by name making everyone else think you're endorsing this person and have been acting as a strawman for their spam!!
- Wiki Warrior - I've not seen this too much, but it goes on all the time. It's the art of altering wikipedia pages to point to commercial sites or push points that lead to commercial sites. Personally I use wiki when I want to find something out, as an example I googled "wiki Australian cars" when I was trying to find out the name of a car for an Aussie pal. If I wanted a bunch of car markers and great deals on Australian cars I would have just googled "Australian cars". What I don't want to see on wiki is adverts, that's the point of going there! The most amusing aspect of this sin is the idiotic mentality that compels the wiki warriors to use brand names as user names. Is there no sense of propriety with these people?!!!
- Lazy Spam - I've found this specifically with twitter, you find some one that's looks like they would be worth listening to, you follow them and straight away you get followed back and a direct message along the lines of "Thanks for following me, for the best weight loss program go to
". If you are going to abuse Web 2.0 for commercial gain, then have the common decency to actually put a bit of effort in or think about it!
Ok, that was fun, now I should just point out that none of my friends (the only people remotely likely to read my blog!) have been guilty here - but if you're reading this and it sounds familiar then you've been caught out as a Web 2.0 sinner! Repent now and change your ways!
Now I hope this post gets hit will all the blam, core dumping, web stalking and all those other transparent tactics - it's just for a bit of fun :) I've made a start already by following the sheep and tagging this post incorrectly!