From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

kvarnelis's blog


A couple of months ago, Stowe Boyd at Corante reviewed Writely, a free collaborative web-based word processor compatible with Microsoft Word. Many of Stowe's criticisms (such as the Firefox funkiness...even new versions of Safari work well enough) have been addressed and I was delighted that my various collaborators who had previously largely shrunk from on-line collaborative writing eagerly embraced Writely immediately.

Writely could still be more wiki like. Why should our documents wind up so disparate? Why can't they be more easily linked together? Collaboration needs some work although it is the first thing on their list after Thanksgiving. But Writely has strong promise for such a new product and could give services like Socialtext a run for their money. In any event, Writely is worth a look for any project requiring networked, collaborative writing.

There's an interview with the people behind writely at Emily Chang's ehub, a blog on Web 2.0 applications that's worth visiting as well. The main page, which I'm adding to my RSS feeds, is here.

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 22, 2005 - 1:06am

Wade Rush on Social Networking

Reblogged from is this piece by Wade Rush on the rise of Social Networking:

bq. If there were a competition for "Internet Buzzword of the Year," last year's winner would have been "social networking," as a cohort of companies such as Ryze, Tribe, LinkedIn, Friendster, Spoke, and Visible Path, rolled out new or improved services that let Web users create online mirrors of their circle of real-life acquaintances. The idea was mainly to let users build online profiles that advertised their interests and to help them connect with friends and friends-of-friends around one of those interests -- whether it be finding a job, making a sale, or repairing an old motorcycle.

bq. But with the exception of Friendster and Myspace, the initial response to these services among average Internet users was sluggish. Many users signed up for one or more services, created online profiles, formed connections with a few acquaintances, and drifted away, uncertain about how to use the networks."

Read more here

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 21, 2005 - 6:30pm

An Introduction to Tagging and Folksonomies

Daniel Terdiman's C|Net article 'Tagging' gives Web a Human Meaning is a good introduction to the importance of folksonomies and tagging for anyone looking for such a thing.

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 19, 2005 - 1:40am

Building a Better Boom

In his New York Times article, Building a Better Boom, John Battelle reflects on the similarities and differences between the Internet bubble of the late 1990s and our own time.

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 19, 2005 - 12:50am

The Rise of the Object

Reblogging a piece from

A number of pieces have washed in over the transom over the last few days. Even more than postmodernism, Network Culture thrives on the paranoiac construction of connections and this post to has turned into precisely such a venture. Make your own flowchart if this one leads to madness.

First, John Southern sends this piece, Machines and objects to overtake humans on the Internet, on the prediction by the UN's telecommunications agency, the International Telecommunication Unit, that in future decades there will be tens of billions of objects connected to the Internet, leaving human users a distinct second. If the Internet becomes a vast grid capable of metering the world, what use will we put that too? Bruce Sterling is our theorist for this project, suggesting that the result is an informational universe composed of what he calls Spimes.

But where is this all leading to? At BoingBoing Xeni Jardin blogs historian George Dyson's article Turing's Cathedral, a reflection on his visit to Google. In response to a statement by a Google employee that's project of scanning vast libraries of literature is not so much to make the material available for humans but to provide reading material for an AI (Artificial Intelligence). Dyson points out that with the sum of the world's knowledge on the Internet, connections previously unimagined and undreamed of will soon become possible. Is it coincidence that Google is a word coined by a nine year old? Google, on the other hand. denies these rumors. Or at least is sidestepping them.

With all that in mind, as I read Lev Manovich's piece on Remix and Remixability and pondered the self-remixing functions of the Soft Cinema DVD that Lev and Andreas Kratky produced, I wondered if we weren't really looking at yet another case of art acting as a kind of research and development engine or prototyping unit for society at large? In other words, might all of our interest in the possiblities of remix be a dress rehearsal for a world in which somebody else might be doing the remixing?

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 17, 2005 - 6:40pm

A Compromise of Sorts on Internet Control

The international dispute over the United States Department of Commerce's oversight of ICANN has been resolved... at least for now. Read the New York Times article
on the topic. Lawrence Lessig thinks this is just fine, but others disagree.

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 16, 2005 - 5:33pm

Yahoo embracing social tagging

As this article points out, Yahoo is embracing social tagging in its quest to make its product more relevant. In other thoughts, Marc Pincus suggests that we don't need more more feeds, we need feed editors.

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 15, 2005 - 11:47am

Gates on Web Services

According to a leaked Microsoft memo, Bill Gates is rallying the troops for the sea change that the coming "services wave" will bring. According to the memo, Internet software and services, often referred to as "Web 2.0" will revolutionize the industry. But is it too late for Microsoft?

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 11, 2005 - 11:19pm

Network Culture

I've outlined some of my recent thinking about the cultural condition we find ourselves in today at this page on In a nutshell, if modernism was followed by postmodernism, the latter is in turn followed by network culture. This parallels the development from publics to counter publics to networked publics.

Submitted by kvarnelis on November 9, 2005 - 8:39am

no more reading blogs at work

If you can't read the netpublics page from work, maybe it's because we mention that four letter world, "BLOG"!

Wired carries an article on web filtering software gone amok...

No Longer Safe for Work: Blogs

Submitted by kvarnelis on October 24, 2005 - 11:44am