This is lifted from Adrian’s blog:
ReadyMag has a demo zine edition online. While it has lots of funky effects, which will get pretty boring pretty quickly, it is offering itself as a simple to use zine publishing system. There are a slew of these services appearing, which is very exciting. What is good here is that individuals look like they’ll get a simple, high quality way to put together stuff that works online, looks good, and takes advantage of the computer to support a variety of media. Has some tools to share the bits you like, start a conversation, and even curate your own collection of bits that matter. Let’s call this generation one of the new generation of media making services, along with the Qwiki’s ‘create a qwiki’ editor, and even things like Storify and Cowbird.
These represent a significant transition. The first moments online was being able to talk with each other (message boards, email, some FTP). So simple connectivity into temporally and geographically dispersed communities (1). Then came the web and self publishing of things for each other and the link (2). This meant search became a problem to solve, which Google did pretty well. Next was community building via the web, where community was pretty much any group with a common interest. This was kickstarted by blogging, where small scale (what industry might call ‘niche’) could not only survive, but prosper (cue ‘long tail’, etc). Blogging was a move that turned the network into the site/practice of making rather than make over here on my PC and publish over there on the web (3). Then we saw the rise of services, the tentative beginnings of what is now sort of social media (though that’s a misnomer since it’s always been social and there are big differences between, say, Facebook and Twitter at every level you bother to think of). Flickr, for instance, allowing people to not just save and store photos but to curate, share and tag them. This is the beginning of what I think of as web as a site of ‘affect engines’, which are basically big systems to allow people to find forms of unexpected value from their ability to contribute, find, and curate (4). (Of course the company wants this value to be pretty simply realised as $ through either subscription or advertising or both, which in themselves don’t seem to be game changers really.) These are aggregation sites, and their scale is intimidating (YouTube, FaceBook). But here you still generally make, salvage, glean media from outside the network, aggregate it in one of those soft silos (they all have APIs but they remain centralised systems) to publish it into the flow. Now we see the rise of services that, like blogging, let the network be the site of the making (5). You can of course pull in new media, for example add a photo or video of your own, but they’re also just as happy to pull in something from YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia or a blog. Here the internet is the source and destination media.
These networked collage/curation narrative practices, regardless of their ‘business model’, are the current ‘narrational turn’ online, so what we find to make with them is I think the problem du jour. Is this the opportunity to make the same, only ‘different’, or in the flood of minor moments that something like Cowbird has, are new things emerging?
For a performative archive (and that does deliberately echo Austin) like that being researched within this project these questions matter. Simply, the web has moved past publishing and searching (discovery) and so the experiential value proposition (there’s a slogan for you) – apart from punters who want to see a show again, or niche users already invested in circus – revolves around “what can I do with what I find?”, rather than “what can I find?”.