Web Creativity: But I can’t speak computer!

The Web is built to foster creativity. But which are the best ways to go about it? And do you need to be a computer hacker to succeed in online content creation?

Do you speak computer?

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While contributing to certain aspects of the web undoubtedly require specific skills, the evolution of Web 2.0 technology is providing more and more ways for the average person to interact with the Internet. In particular social networking sites and the blogosphere pose the greatest potential for laypeople to create online. But can a website or online space every be truly completely accessible to the average person?

Coding: child's play?

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This blog, for instance, is being hosted by WordPress. I don’t need any specific training or extra knowledge to get everything up and running and my thoughts out into the ether of the World Wide Web. From the outside, it appears as if I can do whatever I want to my blog. Customising its appearance, posting to my heart’s content and even changing the URL to my own personal domain, if I have the cash to do so. But if you take a closer look, everything is not as malleable as it seems. In fact, many argue that customizable domains such as blogs, and Facebook pages, are actually very tightly controlled. Think about it. What can you do to your Facebook profile, apart from change the picture. Not much.

I can’t even change the font of this post! Lame.

Which raises the question: is the full creative potential of the Internet truly available to everyone? Or only those who speak computer?


Week Three: What features can you identify in WordPress that define it as a Web 2.0 application?

Considering Tim O’Reilly’s eight design patterns for Web 2.0 applications, it is clear that WordPress is one such application. The four main design criteria displayed by WordPress are as follows:

The Long Tail:O’Reilly suggests that Web 2.0 is primarily composed of sites that cater to niche markets, allowing it to attract an incredibly broad audience. This is a definite feature of WordPress, in which any produser can create a blog that caters specifically to his or her unique interests.

Users Add Value: Clearly a key aspect of WordPress, O’Reilly argues that users must add data to an application for it to grow and succeed. As a blog hosting platform, WordPress relies on users adding to and adapting the software provided for it to even exist. Inevitably some users will add more value than others, for instance those writing and improving software code may be few and far between, but every user contributes in their own unique and useful way.

The Perpetual Beta: O’Reilly describes how Web 2.0 applications are constantly updated and being improved in real-time. This differs from the previous practice of packaging a set version of a product, selling it, and then requiring the user to upgrade at a later date. The nature of the Internet and the WordPress platform means that being in ‘perpetual beta’ is an inherent quality of blog hosting software. Since people do not have to download anything, the product is able to constantly with or without the awareness of the produsers.

Software Above the Level of a Single Device: As more and more people forgo their computers to access the Internet, Web 2.0 apps must be openly accessible to new devices. WordPress software is adaptable to and accessible on a whole host of new generation technologies including: mobile devices, such as an iPhone and tablets, like the iPad.