Many (to platform) to many: Web 2.0 application infrastructures

Jack Jamieson


Web 2.0 applications have been celebrated for creating opportunities for user generated content and have also prompted concerns about the collection and storage of user information. This paper discusses the infrastructures driving dynamic Web applications — focusing particularly on Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) — and argues that these infrastructures encourage a particular style of user participation that aids the data collection and analysis activities of major Web 2.0 platforms. While these applications provide simple interfaces for many to many content production, in the process they have often inserted themselves as intermediaries. By focusing on the role of Ajax, this paper illustrates ways in which taken-for-granted infrastructures can shape the sorts of communication patterns and relationships that are built upon the Web.

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