The Machine is Us/ing us again

Over on Writing & The Digital Life I embedded Michael Wesch's YouTube video about web 2.0 – The Machine is Us/ing Us. It's been a phenomenally successful video; You Tube has over 3000 comments as of writing this.
Beneath the fold there is a new development.

What you are watching is a Mojiti “spot set”; users can sign in an annotate embedded videos. Strikes me that this is transliteracy in action. Online annotation is perhaps a dimension of transliteracy. This wave has been building for a while. Sites like Diigo and Trailfire have explored annotation – with mixed results. It’s not a new idea; W3C has been working on their web browser/writer, “Amaya” since 1996. Indeed, Nelson’s concept of a docuverse in Xanadu always featured the ability to annotate documents. I suspect, however, that we’re in the midst of a convergence of technology (web2.0 sites), demographics (critical mass of always-on net connections) and culture (normalisation of writing on the web without needing to know HTML in sites such as Myspace) that means annotation may be a practice that is coming of age.


4 thoughts on “The Machine is Us/ing us again

  1. A fascinating development – Flickr allows the same, though their annotation system is much less advanced.
    I found these comments and metacomments (comments about comments) much more interesting than the video itself… a great range of fact & fiction, compliments and trolling.
    I must check out this mojiti system – I’m wondering whether the original author is notified of new annotations, and if they can choose to refuse any of them. Clearly the system is open to abuse – not just the usual bad language etc., but as I’ve seen with Flickr annotations, one person taking up all the available space with one comment. It would also be nice if these annotations were more transparent, so you could still see the source!
    Certainly it seems to me that being able to easily annotate websites and the various media they contain would be a huge step forward in terms of transliteracy, by most of our definitions of what that is, and much more useful than a bunch of comments at the end of a page…

  2. Web annotation is an interesting space. There have been a number of companies here over the years. 3rd Voice was interesting but died with the bubble. I’ve been using Trailfire for the last couple of months and am supries at how many people see the Trails I create. I had one trail with over 5,000 views over three weeks. I think they will be the winner.

  3. Mike Wesch – how an academic became Top of the Pops at YouTube

    Here’s a nice story to cheer us up after the Atwood disappointment. Yesterday at Web2expo I heard anthropologist Mike Wesch talk about his now ubiquitous video The Machine is Us/ing Us, discussed by Bruce Mason elsewhere on this blog. ….

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