Web Science

So I’m doing an online course – a MOOC (massive open online course) through the University of Southampton. It’s about what the web is and how we use it, and where it’s going, how it’s changed our lives – all that good stuff.  So this is week one, and I thought I’d use my blog to do my homework. Feel free to chip in or just ignore me. Either way. I’m not easily offended!

So this week’s questions:

How do you use the Web?

Constantly. For everything. My whole life – both socially and professionally, is touched by this thing we call the Web. I’m a Community Content Curator. I gather and collate local amateur sports stories for the local newspaper. I couldn’t do my job without the Web. Communication with my contributors would be too slow to be effective for the print deadlines. I have a very wide geographical spread of friends. I use the Web to keep in touch with them – from the people I talk to every day, to the people I say Happy Birthday and Happy Christmas too.

Do you just look up information on the Web?  Search it like an enormous Yellow Pages of businesses and services?

Yes.  Google is now a verb. I google everything. For example my husband and I were watching the latest episode of Homeland last night. I recognised one of the actors but couldn’t recall where from. In the next ad break I had googled the episode, found the actor’s name, googled him and found out where I knew him from. In 3 and a half minutes.

Talk to friends on it?

Oh yes. Email and Facebook allow me to engage in a massive range of personal communication from idle chit chat on Facebook chat, to long emails to my oldest friend who lives in Denmark.

What does your Web look like?

My life. It reflects all the things I’m interested in and passionate about because it brings those things right to me in the comfort of my own home.

Do you learn from it, are you entertained by it, or does it help you to run your life?

I’m learning right now by attending this MOOC. I use the Web for entertainment all the time – I play games, I chat with friends, I listen to music, watch videos. And yes, I use it to help run my life – my calendar is online, as is my address book, and my to do lists.

How would you characterise yourself as a ‘browser’ or ‘user’ of the Web?

Most definitely a User. I don’t just sit and idly watch the Web go by – I get stuck in and utilise the Web for my own needs.

Do you think your usage is typical – and does it depend on your age, lifestyle, class, race, nationality or professional status?

My usage is probably higher than most people my age because my job is so focussed on social media and content. I’m not sure it depends on age, lifestyle etc – everyone uses the Web in their own unique way. I know professional women of my age and background that rarely use the Web. I know younger people who use it way more than I do. I think it’s an individual thing that can’t be generalised.

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