Is Eboman v2.0?
The first thing that gets your attention on eboman.info is the list of well known web 2.0 logos. Next to it, Eboman coupled the logos to his own interpretation of what the service is about. YouTube for example lists his low-res videos, Wikipedia contains his history (actually his story, but I’ll come back to that later), Kiko holds his performance agenda, etcetera. At the top left of his site there is a call for participation: “Upload your videos to YouTube and JumpCut and make audiovisual sampletracks with Eboman”.
It looks as if the guy understands what web 2.0 is all about. There are a million definitions of web 2.0, but some of the characteristics seem to be: the Network as a (service-) platform, user -generated and -distributed content, and network effects created by an architecture of participation (deep linking). Eboman clearly calls for participation, uses different web services for various content generated by him, and uses this domain as a starting point to them.
Although it is very compelling to say that Eboman has upgraded to v2.0 there are some peculiarities to it. It is quite interesting to see for what purpose he uses the different service (-platforms). WordPress is used as a descriptive archive of his projects. Blogger on the other hand is used to spread news about events. It looks as if he needed a chronologically ordered content management system for the former and an rss feed for the latter. Myspace is used as a contact page, lists his friends, some movies you can also find on his YouTube page, and some funky pictures he likes. It seems as if he really likes the web 2.0 idea, but found only platforms that offer too many services. Instead of making a web 1.0 website with all the features he liked or conforming to one particular serviceplatform, he has used a lot of popular web 2.0 services out there and used bits of them to fulfill particular needs.
Problematic however is the link to the Wikipedia page on Eboman. It seems quite compelling to have an encyclopedic entry describing you, certainly if you know that Wikipedia is collaboratively written by authors all around the world. At first sight it seems to be a standard Wikipedia article with an introduction explaining who Eboman is, some history and a projectography. However, if you look a bit better, you will see that his biography is very long and you start to wonder if you have ever heard the term ‘projectography’ before. Reading his history, you quickly notice the line ‘This Ebo-history is in the words of Eboman himself’. A little further everything is written from a first person perspective, e.g. ‘My first Sample madnesS compositions date from 1985’. Suspicious as I am, I looked at the history page which shows one minor edit from an anonymous IP address, the rest of this Wikipedia page is written by jhofs. A quick Google query learned me that Eboman’s real name is ‘Jeroen Hofs’. In other words, Wikipedia is not used to describe Eboman’s history but to tell his story.
In light of the recent “scandals” revealed through wikiscanner and the supposedly objective nature of Wikipedia, I looked up the Wikipedia guidelines for writing an (auto-) biography. It states that ‘Avoiding such [biographical] editing keeps Wikipedia neutral and helps avoid point-of-view-pushing. Writing autobiographies is highly discouraged. It is not impossible to write a neutral, verifiable autobiography, and they are not strictly forbidden. But there are many common problems.’ E.g. conflict[s] of interest.
Although eboman.info is clearly a ‘tool to manage the self’ (Geert Lovink, 2007), Eboman has produced some very nice new media works, and is actively participating in the remix and creative commons culture (e.g. vivalacreacion on picnic07). Therefor, I would like to conclude this post by calling upon all of you to ‘go forth, and edit that entry’. To have participatory culture, one needs to participate.