John Sack, director of Stanford’s Highwire Press recently speculated that we may be reaching a tipping point in the hype cycle of Web 2.0, where we’re actually starting to see some practical consideration and thoughtful critical analysis of these technologies, rather than the usual constant stream of evangelism and cheerleading. If so, it’s certainly welcome, and a few recent articles back up his viewpoint:

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Tara Brabazon, Professor of Media Studies from Brighton University recently wrote a blistering review of Clay Shirky’s very enthusiastic book on social networking, “Here Comes Everybody”. While Brabazon’s main point is the enormous number of people excluded from Shirky’s “everybody”, she hits the nail on the head on several of the negative aspects of Web 2.0. I particularly like her comments on the “digitised echo chamber”, the self-reinforcing nature of the blogosphere and social networks:

“Web 2.0 has become a warm and dark space for people with too much time and too few ideas. They are shielded through the flawed assumption that if more “people” (and as a visitor to Second Life, I use this word advisedly …) are involved in doing “something” then it becomes important. When we were at high school, this was called mob rule. Now it is called social networking….The long tail of proliferating mediocrity, where bloggers link to other bloggers and podcasters namecheck other podcasters, is the great cost of Web 2.0.”

David Silver, Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Director of the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies at the University of San Francisco has an interesting historical perspective on the hype surrounding Web 2.0, essentially calling it the bubble in new clothing:

“These days, the obvious needs saying: Don’t believe corporate hype. Corporations exist to make profits, not public goods. Usually, when they say “community” they mean “commerce,” and when they say “aggregation” they mean “advertising.” Here in northern California, what were once dot.coms are now called Web 2.0 startups, but the goal remains the same: to make millions by selling out to Google, Yahoo!, or Microsoft . From San Francisco to Silicon Valley, the newest gold rush is on, call it California Ideology 2.0, and hungry ghosts cover the city.”

And finally, the Science of the Invisible blog takes a stern look at Connotea. Glad to see I’m not the only one finding such services less than useful. He’s heading for CiteULike next week, but personally, I don’t see all that much difference between the two.