Creativity, Participation and Connectedness: An Interview with David Gauntlett [chapter]

David Gauntlett
2010 Mashup Cultures  
Introductory note This is a version of an interview which will appear in the book Mashup Cultures, edited by Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss, published by Springer Wien/New York early in 2010. This online version is a little different to the version in the book. The book version begins with the most introductory section, 'The meaning of Web 2.0', and includes a section called 'Ethics and exploitation' (with questions posed by Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss and Stephen Harrington) which does not appear here. There
more » ... is also a slightly different conclusion bit. These variations are all because we were asked to make the free online version a bit shorter or different than the published one. Don't worry -sometimes the remix is better than the original! This version begins with the 'Making is connecting' section. Readers who would like a basic definition of Web 2.0 can obviously skip forwards to that bit. This version also includes an extra question and answer, on virtual worlds versus the real world. Stefan Sonvilla-Weiss invited me to contribute to this book, and suggested an interview. In the spirit of 'Mashup Culture,' I invited people to send me questions via Twitter and Facebook. (So, it's not really a mashup, but at least it's questions coming together from different sources, and from people around the world. So it's actually another buzzwordcrowdsourcing). The questions arrived, of course, in a random order, from different places in Europe, the United States, and Australia. I have tried to sort them into a sequence of questions which makes some kind of sense. I have to apologise to the several people whose questions I haven't used. Typically these were excellent questions, but about issues or areas where I had no knowledge or little to say, apart from some admiration for the question and perhaps some speculation. Since readers don't really have any use for my admiring, speculative answers, I thought it was better to leave those out. We begin with some questions about my 'making is connecting' project, followed by a definition and discussion of 'Web 2.0', and whether it is a useful or distinctive term. We then turn to implications for education, and academic public engagement. (2) MAKING IS CONNECTING Catherine Vise, by email: Your 'Making is Connecting' work seems to be about a number of interesting things, like 'everyday creativity', Web 2.0, and social capital. It also seems to suggest a manifesto for making the world a better place. Can you give a simple summary of how this all fits together? David Gauntlett: Making is Connecting is a book which I'm writing (during 2009-2010), accompanied by a website that's already open at www.makingisconnecting.org. The title came into being because, like other people, when discussing Web 2.0 and social media I was talking a lot about making, and about connecting, 'making and connecting' -as well as other words like sharing and collaboration and so on -but then it struck me that an 'is' in the middle summed up pretty well what I wanted to say. And that I wanted to make this discussion not just about digital media but about creativity in general. So 'making is connecting' because it is through the process of making that we (1) make new connections between our materials, creating new expressive things; (2) make connections with each other, by sharing what we've made and contributing to our relationships by sharing the meanings which we've created, individually or in collaboration; and (3) through making things, and sharing them with others, we feel a greater connection with the world, and more engaged with being more active in the environment rather than sitting back and watching. So, it concerns some of the themes of Web 2.0, but it's broader than that. In a sense it wonders whether the Wikipedia model of collaboration online, which people do not for reward but because they think it's a good project, can be taken as a metaphor for people doing nice collaborative stuff in everyday life. The experience of Web 2.0 -especially Wikipedia and the non-profit 'social innovation' projects -can shift people's perceptions of how to go about things, I think. The people I know who are enthusiastic about Web 2.0 are also enthusiastic about real-world community projects, and it's not likely that that's a coincidence. So that connects with the literature on social capital -which is about the ways in which people feel connected with their communities, and whether they are motivated to make a positive difference -and indeed with the literature on happiness, and on loneliness.
doi:10.1007/978-3-7091-0096-7_5 fatcat:3drid7ltnrcwbdy5llghfkapvy