Intro to Networked Collaboration

On Convergence…

Here is what I think….We have the technological know-hows to create a virtual world (Second Life), the iPhone and then allow 3rd party developers to use its platform to create new apps,  a social networking site like Facebook, (which I still don’t see as an essential site), (also doesn’t make much sense to me since I upload photos to facebook and everyone I know sees them there), and Blogs.


My question is that if we have all this technology, why wouldn’t we want to build one platform where people can do all of the above? Wouldn’t that be true convergence? If I use Facebook to create events, stay in touch with friends, start and manage groups, share pictures, send private messages, share youtube videos then I would rather stick to that platform and blog there as well (because I have the audience I want already), add bookmarking to my page as a function, and have a Second Life on Facebook.


So why hasn’t that happened yet?


September 10, 2008 - Posted by | convergence


  1. Hi, ayvak/kavya – delicious is a social bookmarking site – in other words, it’s bookmarking (saving your favorite sites) but with the added benefit of being able to access your bookmarks from anywhere and share them with anyone. Have a look at this delicious info page I just posted on the class wiki.

    While Facebook does support the sharing and tagging of pictures, a platform like flickr allows for sharing, tagging, geotagging, groups and more importantly, searching without having to be logged in or a flickr user. In other words, say that you’re looking for an image – say of “Pakistan” or something more abstract like “colorful” —
    if you go to and enter word(s) in the “Search” field, like “Pakistan” or “colorful” or even both, then it will return all photos with those tags, without having to be a user of flickr. (In Facebook, you have to be a user and have to be logged in.)

    Moreover, say you want to use a photo for your own purposes. Most images on the web are copyrighted so that you are not really allowed to use them. In flickr, you can look up photos that you are allowed to use (that fall under the Creative Commons license, in which the owner of an image licenses it in such a way that others can use it).

    For example, if you do an advanced search on “Pakistan”, you can scroll down to “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content” and check that box to get search results of images that you can re-use.

    You can also add comments to particular areas in an image. Check out this photo — when you mouse over the image, you’ll see the areas which people have drawn and commented.

    Note also that above the image, there is an “All Sizes” button which allows you to download the image in several different sizes (thumbnail, small, medium, large).

    Note also that it’s a photo that falls under the Creative Commons license, so the image owner has ok’d it to be used. (scroll down under the “Tags” section to where it says “Additional Information” – you’ll see it says “Some rights reserved” which indicates that you can share and remix the work as long as you attribute ownership to the original owner and it’s noncommercial).

    So, flickr has become a huge shared database. One interesting project is the Flickr Commons project – which consists of a wealth of old Library of Congress photos and an invitation to collectively tag them, thus enriching the image collection as it grows with our collective knowledge and imbued meanings.

    As far as “one platform” is concerned, progress is being made towards that. Open Social is “a set of common application programming interfaces (APIs) for web-based social network applications, developed by Google along with MySpace and a number of other social networks.” So, with the implementation of Open Social, there will be the potential for social networks to communicate with each other.

    Comment by funksoup | September 11, 2008 | Reply

  2. I would have to agree with “ayvak” on this one. A good example for me personally is youtube and facebook. I don’t use youtube at all to upload videos because I put all of my videos on facebook.
    For one thing, it’s safer that way. It also helps me contain everything into one website. It’s hard enough as it is having both a myspace and a facebook.
    Although these other sites might be useful. Who has the time to keep them organized and updated?!?

    Comment by isrellyrel | September 11, 2008 | Reply

  3. Isrellyi has a valid point when she asks “who has the time to keep them (all your social websites)organized and updated?” My experience was mostly MySpace and YouTube. Then I was invited to join a women’s leadership site who had quite a few of the members on Facebook. So now I’m on Facebook, YouTube and MySpace. Not to mention reading and responding to my Yahoo! mail and working on a Yahoo! groups for my church and my family. Trying to manage all of these can be overwhelming so I’ve neglected the MySpace and have cut down on posting to the women’s site. Oh, and I forgot to mention a Blogger blog I stopped posting on ( At times it comes down to a choice between participating in a site to appear to be sociable (Facebook) or to work on a site that satisfies your creative/artistic needs.
    Which refers back to Ayvak’s question as to “why not make one site that does it all.” The answer can be found in the real world. Not everyone wants to hang out in the same place. So we have meeting rooms for businessmen who like to smoke cigars and nightclubs for the rave set. After sites have been in existence for a while they tend to develop a certain flavor. Facebook is light and airy (to me) whereas MySpace shall we say?…all over the place.

    Comment by nancyajones | September 12, 2008 | Reply

  4. Nancy definitely has a point as well.. It would be really hard to contain everything in one website. Even though websites such as facebook which have lots of options are getting really popular these days, there are so many other options. It’s almost impossible to keep everything in one place. That is why people pick and choose what websites they want/need to belong to.

    On another note. Although I do like being introduced to all of these other websites through this class. I’m finding it very overwhelming to keep track of everything. I had to physically write down all of the new accounts that I made for this class.
    I would have never created so many accounts on my own.

    No wonder we have to post our urls on our wiki.. At least that keeps it somewhat organized 😛

    Comment by isrellyrel | September 12, 2008 | Reply

  5. Maybe in the future there will be one common open platform like the one that Google is working on that the marketplace will move to because it offers the greatest convenience. All of these tools specialize in an area and do something really well. So, I don’t think I need to sign up for every internet tool, but I will if it’s an area that I am more interested in to try it out. For example, if I wanted to start a blog and post entries on a daily basis, I would probably use this site, wordpress, because it is in my opinion the easiest blog tool I’ve used. I could do it using facebook or myspace but those would be a little more unwieldy. Bookmarks and password saving browsers are my friends.

    Comment by unoq | September 12, 2008 | Reply

  6. This is a great question. The Internet has been compared to the Railroads since way back when the whole craze started.

    In NYC, the subway lines were all original businesses. The Interborough Rapid Transit, the Brooklyn Mass Transit, etc. They all used to have individual names, and when I first moved to NY in the 1980s the old time new yorkers still used to refer to them that way. “Take the IRT…”, I’d be like “what?”

    Anyway, point is eventually all of these ‘businesses’ stopped being good businesses so they were merged together into one State Agency, the MTA.

    The same thing is true for Amtrak, which is the remnants of the last remaining passenger rail businesses that also couldn’t make it any longer as a stand alone business, although at a certain point in history before the Highways were built in the Great Depression as a works project, rail travel was it for getting people and freight around. Conrail is the same thing for freight which was consolidated into one kind of subsidized company, although there still are viable freight companies out West I think.

    Even electrical generation used to be done by small producers and industrialists who had to generate their own power to run their factories. Water wheels used to do this kind of thing in Upstate NY (and could be again maybe). But, eventually they all consolidated into public regulated utilities for efficiency and cost save reasons.

    So, if those are any indication of the future for the Internet, we may know that there will eventually be a big uber- merger or something. I don’t look forward to having to deal with that bureaucracy every day of my life! It is bad enough with Time-Warner.

    And, I wonder how innovation will not be stifled in that future scenario. It certainly was when Microsoft started using Muscle, Money and Mouth in Washington to put new arrivals on the scene with better ideas out of business to arrive at the dumb monopoly mess they are now with Vista, etc. and upon which many of us citizens are dependent now, and by which we are inconvenienced and extorted.

    We need some innovation on capital structures for crowd source open source based ‘organizations’ or ‘systems’ that can take on these kinds of functions in society. Linux or Firefox maybe an example of the kind of organization that can evolve to replace the bureaucracy. I certainly don’t like the corporation for that function, nor a government agency, nor regulated utility if we can come up with something better.

    Comment by brettbarndt | September 14, 2008 | Reply

  7. I loved Brett’s comparision of the railroads to the internet.

    Comment by ayvak | September 15, 2008 | Reply

  8. Here’s a more terrifying use of convergence culture. In India, Terrorist groups use Mobile phones to detonate bombs, Blogs to communicate in code to each other and email to send threats to the government.

    This has led the Indian government to put a restriction on blogging. And when a blomb blast occurs, the police jam the cell phone networks.

    Comment by ayvak | September 17, 2008 | Reply

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