Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who's reading this anyway?

Far from being an inclusive, Web 2.0 is at risk of being seen as an elite form of communication which is too often presented as value-free and accepted without judgment. There are a number of assumptions which seem easy to make but (in this space at least) we aren't addressing. These include:

What we have to say is useful and important
People want to hear and need to know what we're saying
That we have access to the technology

For research communication to be effective, we always pose a series of questions to which Web 2.0 should not be exempt from asking. What do we want to say? Who is our audience? How do they engage? What tools do they use? Who are we missing?

Once we have the answers to these we can decide on the most appropriate ways to do this. Sometimes the answer is a workshop, sometimes its podcasts. Sometimes it's participatory video and sometimes it's a very heavy academic paper.

The point is, Web 2.0 is not the only answer but part of the solution. Let's remember that.

By Clare Gorman, IDS

See also Euforic newsfeeds on climate change; information/knowledge, and from the IMWG 2009 workshop