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Cartoon: The art of web science


The art of web science © Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons

I’ve gone back to education by enrolling in an entirely online course at one of my local universities – The University of Southampton.

Edited: 15th November 2013. Some questions about use of the worldwide web.

  • How do you use the Web?

It is a key tool for my work. I use it for research, discovery and for confirming information from other sources, which are often anecdotal knowledge from conversation.

  • Do you just look up information on the Web?

See immediately above.

  • Talk to friends on it?

I do, typically using the micro blogging service Twitter or in closed forums in organisations to which I belong.

  • Search it like an enormous Yellow Pages of businesses and services?

At times yes, although in recent times I have found it increasingly efficient to find the actual experts in the subjects in which I am interested. You could characterise this as going direct to the source of the information.

  • What does your Web look like?

I imagine it as some sort of organic structure like a circulatory system or plant roots and branches.

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

All three although I’d reorder the priority of order in the question above.

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

If I had to choose, a user but I don’t think the distinction is particularly valuable.

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

I’m wary of labels such as typical and especially in a developing human communication system. Again, if pushed, I’d say I was a persistent or even heavy user of the technology. I am sure that my ability to access the web is highly dependent upon my age, lifestsyle, class, nationality and professional status.

  • Perhaps you can think of an interesting way to visualise your use of the web – a chart or diagram that you can upload to your own blog and link to from this discussion.

Please return to the top of this post. Thanks for reading!

After that you might like to watch this video about the pre-history of the web by Les Carr.

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