In this paper we present a socio-technical framework for understanding the Web, which attempts to re-integrate the micro perspective of engineered activity with the macro perspective of emergent global phenomena. Our conceptualization of the Web’s growth is grounded in a social theoretical approach to the interactions between humans and technologies and draws upon a three year study of Open Government Data as an emerging Web activity. The study, which has been conducted using a mixed methods approach to explore Web data, reveals a number of elements shaping the growth of this particular area of Web activity. Abstracting these elements, we have constructed an alternative paradigm to the popular micro-to-macro understanding of the Web’s evolution (build in lab, release to the public). The new paradigm presented in this paper argues that the Web grows through continuously emergent interactions, phases, and re-configurations. This transcends the separation of micro from macro in previous models and redefines the boundaries of what constitutes the Web, as a highly coupled social and technical phenomenon.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Apr 2014|
- web science, social theory, web engineering, social machines