We are in the Curated Web Experience

Forget Web 2.0 for a moment. That was more than a decade ago. We’ve moved on from the world according to Andrew Keen and David Weinberger that we commonly know of that has “YouTube, the blogosphere, Wikipedia, MySpace or Facebook” (Wall Street Journal, 2007). For one, we still have a lot of Web 2.0 services surviving on the Internet these days, but their days are numbered. We live in the Curated Web Experience where content will be served up based on your interests, needs, and behavior. There is nothing you can do to escape the reach of what is being recorded every day on the Internet.

In the article by Keen and Weinberger, “what ‘matters’ in the world of Web 2.0 [is]:

  1. Engadget
  2. Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things
  3. TechCrunch
  4. Gizmodo
  5. The Huffington Post
  6. Lifehacker, the Productivity and Software Guide”

Instead, this list should be updated to include the tools that matter the most in the world of the Curated Web Experience:

  1. Customer Relation Management Systems (such as SalesForce, Zoho, and Zendesk)
  2. Cloud-based Media Networks (such as Netflix and Spotify)
  3. Cloud-based Data Visualization Services (such as Tableau, Google Data Studio)
  4. Cloud-based Internet of Things (devices such as Google Nest and Amazon Echo)
  5. Apps that take care of you based on habits and events (automation systems like IFTTT, Microsoft Flow)

These tools and much more are what matter the most to get the best curated web experience out there and Web 2.0 is going to have to compete or work alongside these new systems. Right now, we have live with what we have and will slowly transition to the new sanity (or insanity) of the web.

Existing as a Zombie Social Media Networks

Right now, we are so overwhelmed with the fragmentation of social media networks that I wonder why so many still exist. I still have a MySpace account but I hardly check it. I still have a LiveJournal account and it only exists. Why hasn’t Flickr simply collapsed? Yahoo crippled the service for diehard fans like myself who actually had a paid account for years just to avoid advertisement and had worse service than the folks who didn’t pay for Flickr.

I hate to say it, but there are better services out there that have a different flavor of networking engagement than ever before. More and more, there are social networks that exist only in a mobile app environment, meaning you cannot engage in networking with people except within a smartphone or tablet. Examples of social networks on mobile apps that I have used are Tinder, YikYak, and Snapchat. I predict that the next phase of social media networks will fall into a category where you are going to have to have a portable devices to gain access to these services. Also, these social media networks will use various types of curation tactics to serve information to users. I’m curious if these apps will survive or experience fates similar to the countless networks that have closed down. The data shows we have passed the point where mobile usage is greater than desktop usage.

Web Curation Experience, Inc.

Getting back on topic, modern social media networks are curating content based on our interests. We tend to be our own curation system and not even know it. However, algorithms are out there to guide us where we want to go. Jonathan Zittrain says that “we have arrived in a world that is much more sophisticated and personalized algorithms and processes decide what we see.”


Screenshot of Google’s Page Rank from Jonathan Zittrain’s presentation at 30m37s.

“For example in our Facebook news feed that at this moment decides that Argentina and the Falklands is more of what I want to see than a video of a cat” (Zittrain, 2015).

Even Facebook can figure out when you are going to be in a relationship. Funny how much of our lives are constantly recorded.

Privacy Concerns or Convenience over Privacy?

Most of what I see as the curated web experience will come from ourselves providing a firehose of data points. We are exchanging our information to gain access to using the Internet whether we like it or not. Somewhere hidden in all of the Terms of Service agreements we click or tap, we are signing contracts without thinking we are. According to Quartz, Apple fans have click-signed more than 100,000 words of legal contracts. In addition Christopher Groskoph says, “a heavy internet user could easily have agreed to a million or more words of contracts.” Yikes. On the other hand, this is great news for getting you the content you want!

For me, I prefer convenience over privacy. Who knows? I might be pregnant and not even know it! It’s how the world is going to run and I’m confident that people will overcome their fears of letting companies enter their sphere of privacy. I understand that you can change how you share your information and supposedly trick algorithms and it’s not as bad as it seems. The other end, by not sharing some information, you may not get the access you want.


Screenshot of an example where I have to provide some information to gain access to this Wall Street Journal article.

Right now at work, we are trying to figure out how to sort through tons of data that we have collected over the years and how to put that data to work. I honestly don’t know how we will interpret the data, but it will be useful to gain an edge in how people behave and we might be able to link events through various data points based on event timestamps. The end goal is to help us serve information and other services easier and identify trends as they happen.

Already, some companies use this type of data to serve tailored content or suggest people you might get along with. This is completely different than what Web 2.0 offered over a decade ago. We’re finally at a point where the framework of Web 2.0 is slowly reengineered to look and feel more comfortable and easier to use with amazing cloud-based tools and services.

Welcome to the Curated Web Experience. 

About Roger Renteria

Professional Life: I am a technical communicator, writer, and presenter. Hobby Life: I'm a blues dancer, hiker, and foodie.

Posted on November 7, 2016, in Social Media, Technology, Trust. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hi Roger, Web 2.0 is out of date, but the thought process between the Keen and Weinberger is what intrigued me the most. I would be interested to know if they still feel the same today. Keen seemed to have a huge issue with the change in his industry. I wonder how he’s adapted.

    I think a lot of people choose convenience over privacy. One thing I hate is when I see people shopping for babysitters on Facebook. They give the hours that they work and in some cases have even given their addresses. I once watched a dialog between a young mom and a 16 year old babysitter. Yikes – the world knew exactly when Mom was gone and a young babysitter was at her house. I always worry that if I post vacation photos that people will know my house is unoccupied. It surprises me how trusting people can be. They post their work schedules, their social schedules, their evening plans, etc. I love that my kids rarely post anything online.

    I hate having to give any information just to access information. I hate having to subscribe, register or any of that. I don’t want an account for every site I visit. I created a gmail account so that my regular email account wouldn’t be inundated with junk mail. I use that gmail account whenever I have to give an email address, but I’m not interested in what they’ll send. However, it didn’t work. Somehow, my regular email address gets much more junk mail. I keep a land line for the same reason. I don’t break my neck to get to the phone if it rings because 9 times out of 10 it’s a telemarketer.

    But I think that privacy, to an extent, is imagined. Between public records, print phone books, hacked accounts, Google, white pages, and the census, I think most of our information is already out there. If someone really wanted to know something about me, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to find out.

    • “I think a lot of people choose convenience over privacy.” I agree with this statement as well. Web 2.0 has encouraged many of us to be ADD with immediate feedback and response. Yes, there is too much “sharing” of personal information online within a seemingly “private” network like Facebook. A few years ago, Facebookers were told to “lock down” their profile so that their private information couldn’t be viewed by the search engines as well as to NOT broadcast your comings and goings as well as some photos. However, Web 2.0 has also helped many IT savvy people to hack systems, even the government and banking industries. We’re not really safe anywhere online, but convenience surely outweighs privacy when we want/expect something “right now.”

  2. Roger, you do such a great job of synthesizing all of the readings. Yes, I’m surprised a new term hasn’t emerged since “web 2.0” is dated. I think “web 3.0” was attempted but never caught on. I hope “curated web experience” does though!

    Also, apologies for the login prompt at WSJ. As of last year, that wasn’t necessary. I can PDF the piece for future students….

    • Thanks Dr. Pignetti! No worry about the login prompt, it happened to go well with what I was writing about.

      Even this morning, Facebook prompted me to give them my home address in exchange for seeing the election results. It’s one way they are trying to get as much information about you.

  3. Roger. You have a MySpace account!? That’s amazing! I didn’t even know that site still existed. Do people still use MySpace to the point that it has a dedicated team running it? I heard on a local radio station 94.1JJO (Janesville/Madison Hard Rock) that Tom, the original creator of MySpace who sold the company for LOTS of money, now travels the world with his millions and takes incredible photography. Hearing that story yesterday made me chuckle. The radio announcer himself said, “Remember MySpace? I can’t believe I have to say that because I bet a lot of our listeners actually don’t remember MySpace” and he went on to tell the story about Tom. Little did I know I’d be referencing that experience in a response to your blog today.

    I remember MySpace from my senior year of high school. I used it quite a bit that year because I was in a band. The band and each of its members had accounts. I don’t remember exactly when I stopped using it, but it was relatively quickly after I graduated high school. I can’t remember if I deactivated the account or just walked away completely.

    That makes me think…what was my e-mail ten years ago?

    • Yep! My account is still up there. I think I decided to limit it to friends only and unsubscribed to weekly emails that I was receiving.

      It is now not relevant because there are so many better social media tools, but it did give us a decent starting point for us to socialize more on the Internet.

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