Sharing and Web 2.0: The emergence of a keyword

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Sharing is the constitutive activity of Web 2.0. But when did 'sharing' become the term used to describe the activities that constitute participation in Web 2.0? What does sharing mean in this context? What is its rhetorical force? This paper argues that a new meaning of sharing has emerged in the context of Web 2.0 with three main features: fuzzy objects of sharing; the use of the word 'share' with no object at all; and presenting in terms of sharing functions of social network sites that used not to be so described. Following a critique of the use of the notion of sharing by social network sites, the article concludes by suggesting affinities between sharing in Web 2.0 and in other social spheres.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)167-182
Number of pages16
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Facebook
  • Wayback Machine
  • Web 2.0
  • internet
  • sharing
  • social network sites


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