Shifting media imaginaries of the Web
This exploratory paper sets out a conceptual model for investigating how media imaginaries of the Web shape its design and use over time. We draw from the work of scholars who have devised models for the study of techno-social imaginaries of information and communication technologies, including Patrice Flichy and Robin Mansell. Based on these works, we devise a case study of contrasting media imaginaries of the Web by drawing on textual analysis of statements made by Tim Berners-Lee over more than two decades. Through our analysis of these statements, we show how differing views on the role of creativity — and how it is represented by people and technologies ‘behind the screen’ and ‘in front of the screen’ — lead to competing visions of the past, present, and future of the Web. We conclude with suggestions for some future research questions emerging from this study.
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