I was looking at the wiki Lawrence Lessig used until recently to work on the new version of his book “Code” (Code 2.0) and ran across this description of MUDs/MOOs from 1996. With just a little tweak or two, it could easily describe the current participatory Web 2.0 world.
LambdaMOO is a virtual reality. It is a text-based virtual reality. People from across the world (today close to six thousand of them) link to this space and interact in ways that the space permits. The reality is the product of this interaction. Individuals can participate in the construction of this realityâ€”sometimes for upwards of eighty hours a week. For some this interaction is the most sustained human contact of their entire lives. For most it is a kind of interaction unmatched by anything else they know.
In the main, people just talk here. But it is not the talk of an AOL chat room. The talk in a MUD is in the service of constructionâ€”of constructing a character and a community. You interact in part by talking, and this talking is tied to a name. This name, and the memories of what it has done, live in the space, and over time people in the space come to know the person by what these memories recall.
(emphasis added by me)
Imagine your Yahoo (or MySpace) profile as your “name” and everything it links to — blogs, Amazon account, Flickr, YouTube, etc — is the world you’re participating in and collectively constructing through that participation.