Web Science: Putting on my glasses to see at all

I registered for a mooc on a new platform: „Web Science: How the Web is changing…“ on futurelearn.com der University of Southampton. Yesterday I completed week one, a little late, as I have to admit.

Questions the „educators“ of week one made me think about rolled along my personal internet experience: This 25 year old technology (if we would name it like that) changed the way of life of many in the western world – and it got changed by society as well. The „technology“ is nothing that happens, but is shaped by us using it.

My personal internet history – according to my browser memory as of yesterday – looks like this:

history internet 20140217

Not very surprisingly google can be found on the very top. What I like is that my personal hp lists before fb. Overall the list illustrates pretty accurate my personal habits and in doing so not only pictures my internet life but also the objective life in the world we live in. That’s a good, clear message: My browser’s personal internet history tells a whole lot about my personal life – in front of the laptop as well as off the laptop.

Asked to picture my internet experience as of the beginning up to now myself and according to my own memory I would yome up with the picture of an olympic rhythmic gymnastics‘ athlete doing the ribbon exercise: they are able to do tiny, little living circles with the ribbon, sort of a tunnel moving convulsively and nevertheless staying where the athlete wants it to stay, then changing all of sudden or very gently into big, enhancing circles and the athlete in the middle being completely immersed into it. This would be the picture of my internet experience: First, at the very beginning of the internet I was digging deep in search of information. I had the chance to work at a university at that time and thus being able to experience the internet from the very beginning – not quite as far back as the stage when Tim Berners-Lee counted the first twenty pages being registered, but almost as far back. Back then, hyper links were the means to dig deep and I know exactly what it means to feel lost in cyber space.

Today this pictures has changed into a total immergence into the web: information gathering still takes place, sometimes even digging deep – but most of the time the internet just is there and sort of superficially embraces everyday life. Its usage feels the same like putting on your shoes in the morning to go out – or even better: putting on your glasses to see at all after the good night’s sleep.

If I asked myself before I started this mooc: do I believe at all in SLT, web science? I will have to say already after this first week: yes. We need web science to reflect the immense impact the web has on our personal lifes. And if I will get a clearer picture as to where this journey may leed us after the six weeks of this mooc, happy to know.

Questions to think about in week one:

  • What kind of sites do you visit most?
  • What kinds of service do they provide you?
  • What interests of yours and what areas of your life is the Web involved in, or not involved in?
  • How do you use the Web?
  • Do you just look up information on the Web?
  • Talk to friends on it?
  • Search it like an enormous Yellow Pages of businesses and services?
  • What does your Web look like?
  • Do you learn from it, are you entertained by it, or does it help you to run your life?
  • How would you characterise yourself as a ‘browser’ or ‘user’ of the Web?
  • Do you think your usage is typical – and does it depend on your age, lifestyle, class, race, nationality or professional status?




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