Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Andrade, P.
Affiliation (1st Author)Centro de Estudos de Comunicacao e Sociedade - Institute of Social Sciences University of Minho, Portugal
Section or WGPopular Culture Working Group
DateWed 26 June
Slot CodePOPW4a
Slot Code (Keyword)POPW4a
Time of Session16:00-17:30
Session TitlePerforming and Regulating new spaces
Submission ID5809

Present economic/financial crisis is closely associated with creative destruction, that influenciates, among other social arenas, cyberspace processes within the contemporary communication paradigm. ‘Creative destruction’ conceptualization was pursuited by Marx, Nietzsche, Sombart, Schumpeter, David Harvey, etc.. However, Manuel Castells elaborated an explanation that seems closer to the actual crisis, which is economic but also communicative, through the notion of ‘space of flows’ created by globalised capitalism across information networks at cyberspace. This paper reflects on the information/knowledge flow crisis, observable specially within digital social networks like Facebook, where e.g. content privacy is being debated, and engenders relutance to fidelity. To understand this processus, note that not just information flows became a central means of production, but also knowledge flows, that sometimes complement information flows, but other times compete/destroy/replace it. Such creative destruction phenomenon is more visible within Web 3.0 than inside Web 3.0. Web 2.0 (or Social Web) is an Internet strategy of production/exchange/consumption of information, where the user is not just reading/consuming information, but also writing/producing it, e.g. in a blog post/comment. Web 3.0 (or Semantic Web) signifies a new cyberspace/network paradigm beyond Web 2.0, visible in sites where data is not just shown/permuted (as in Web 2.0), but is also semantically explained. This clarification of information’s meaning provokes a deeper transformation of information itself into knowledge. Major companies are shifting to this innovative knowledge flows’ cyberspace, as Google and Facebook, two central firms that contributed soundly to Web 2.0 public image, in XXI century’s first decade. Google is now introducing a new search engine which uses semantic heuristics that characterize Web 3.0. And Facebook, wanting to compete with Google in this lucrative search engines business, is proposing a ‘graph search’ engine that transforms Facebook internal raw information inscribed by users, into knowledge about the relationships among diverse properties of users content. For instance, users can ask where/when their friends are travelling, and have such quest translated into a visual semantic report. This can be interpreted sociologically as a process of creative destruction, as noted supra, in the sense that information flows associated with digital social networks are being dialectically annihilated in part, and often transformed into knowledge flows. In fact, information flow crisis is manifested through contradictions between the competing values of information on users and/or knowledge about users. A political consequence is the replacement of Web 2.0 order by Web 3.0 mode of exercising power. Semantic Web new/innovative power paradigm is not based any more just on vigilance of information, as it happens in Web 2.0, but also on control of knowledge concerning users content flow. Through this strategy, institutions/organizations operating within Semantic Web may implement a sort of Web 3.0 Panopticon, where they may envision, more efficiently, users themselves, namely their private life. Therefore, even if the social and participative dimension of Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 cultures is a relevant step for democracy and citizenship, several economic, political and cultural risks subsist, that it is necessary to uncover.

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