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Metaphors of the Web 2.0

With Special Emphasis on Social Networks and Folksonomies

Series:

Alexander Tokar

This study is an attempt to semantically decompose the most popular metaphorical expressions associated with two particular Web 2.0 practices: social networks and folksonomies. What is a friend on a social networking Web site like MySpace and StudiVZ? Is it polite to poke strangers on Facebook and give them fives on hi5? How can we subscribe to RSS feeds, if we don’t pay subscription fees? Do we really broadcast ourselves on our YouTube channels? These and other similar questions are dealt with from the perspective of the referential and the conceptual approaches to meaning, i.e., what these words stand for (referential/extensional approach) and which concepts they signify (conceptual/intensional approach). Thus, from the referential point of view, a friend on MySpace is only a hyperlink directing to a profile page of another MySpace user. But from the intensional point of view, a friend is a subscriber to the content generated by the profile owner.

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Abbreviations VIII Screenshots X 1. Introduction 1 Part 1 Theoretical issues 5 2. Basic concepts 6 2.1. Metaphor 6 2.1.1. Definition and structure. Metaphoricity 6 2.1.2. Grounding 12 2.1.3. Extension versus intension. Metaphor versus metonymy 14 2.1.4. Internet master metaphors 16 2.2. Web 2.0 20 2.2.1. Web 2.0 genres 22 2.3. Web 2.0 metaphors: Preliminaries 23 Part 2 Social networks 27 3. Registration 28 4. Profile 34 4.1. Internet profiles versus traditional profiles 34 4.2. SNS profiles from the referential point of view 40 4.3. Intensional meaning 43 4.4. Origin of the homepage metaphor 46 VI 5. Friend 52 5.1. Extension 52 5.2. Intension 53 5.2.1. SNS friends versus traditional friends 53 5.2.2. Why friend? 57 5.2.3. Users 60 5.3. Social networks and traditional concept of friendship 64 6. Pokes, fives, smiles... 66 6.1. Creators 66 6.1.1. Pokes 67 6.1.2. Fives 68 6.1.3. SuperFives 72 6.1.4. Smiles 76 6.2. Users 77 6.3. Summary 82 Part 3 Folksonomies 85 7. Tagging 86 7.1. Tag clouds 86 7.1.1. Folksonomies = non-expert taxonomies? 88 7.2. Search engine metaphor 92 7.3. Intensional meaning 94 8. Subscribe 96 8.1. Extension 96 VII 8.1.1. SUBSCRIPTION2.0 versus SUBSCRIPTION1.0 98 8.2. Linguistic aspects 101 8.2.1. Why subscribe? 101 8.2.2. The bookmarking metaphor 106 8.2.3. Intension 107 9. Channel 111 9.1. Extension 111 9.2. Television metaphor 112 9.2.1. YouTube broadcasting. Aspectual analysis 113 9.2.2. Why broadcast and channel? 121 9.2.3. Subscribers 124 9.3. Intension 127 10. Concluding remarks 130 References 132

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