One of the comments listed other, non-web-based collaborative uses of short-format content, including potluck dinners. As a consummate potlucker, this comment immediately resonated with me. Potlucks are a great model for “good sharing.” Everyone (or almost everyone) understands the “rules” of potlucks: bring enough, bring something that fits the time of day. And the implied: bring something good.
Think about potlucks from the 2.0 standpoint:
- you create and share an item that reflects you
- you enjoy the items shared by others
- all items are subconsciously evaluated by all users (and those evaluations thus reflect on all users)
These three steps could easily define a web 2.0 application like MySpace or Wikipedia. The difference is that the collective item in question (the meal) is very clearly defined at a potluck. What is the collective item to which all are contributing on MySpace? Social connectiveness? On Wikipedia? General knowledge? “Dinner” is about as clear as it gets.
Imagine a museum event or exhibition in which visitors can make a toy or creative object that will then go on display at the museum for the day. This is the MySpace model. Some people may participate, but the goal is unclear (why can’t I take it home?), and results will be inconsistent at best. The sharing is weak. Now imagine an event at which people make and connect pieces of a giant Rube Goldberg machine. This is the potluck model. Creators get more out of the whole experience by linking pieces up, and there’s also a great experience to be had by an audience. Give people a playing field for sharing they already understand and value, and the collective product can be truly delicious.