Punk Tagging

There follows a pretty self-indulgent exercise in mixing metaphors and stretching them beyond breaking point.

I’m sure I’m not the first person who has speculated about similarities between Web 2.0 and Punk. I’ve mused over this with Liz and Brian at UKOLN for example. Brian and I have pushed the ‘music-genre-as-analogy-for-what-we-do’ a fair bit (Brian even blogged about being a Dedicated Follower of Fashion getting cited in the Wikipedia entry for this song title in the process!)

I think it is true that in Web 2.0 we find examples of the do it yourself (DIY) ethos that drove the Punk Rock movement of the late 70’s and early 80’s - Web 2.0 technologies have, it seems to me, undoubtedly lowered the barriers to participation for a lot more people. It’s interesting that the importance of, and focus on, the human element in Web 2.0 is mostly in its collective sense - it’s not actually DIY so much as ‘DIT’ or do it together. And actually we focus more on the output which gives us the exciting network effects we value. A folksonomy for example is an output from a system which allows individual contributions to be realised as a collected endeavour.

Yet it seems apparent that it is the absolute ease with which people can contribute which drives much of the success of ‘social software’. I think this is where Web 2.0 and Punk converge. I think that the result of tagging, for example, manifests often as a community of practice - it’s ‘folk’. But the action of tagging in the first place is closer to Punk.

Punk tagging!



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