While the development of content creation, sharing and discussion sites has radically transformed the practice of Web users, it has not led to the democratization of access to this content.
Search engines and major portals still guide and direct users – rather than Web users themselves. Social bookmarking sites and other voting systems do not resolve this issue. By aggregating individual views rather than extracting specificities, they produce the same kind of results as the search engines.
This imbalance between democratic content creation and centralized access to content poses one of the main barriers to the development of the Web. It has two parallel effects:
- As spectators, Web users cannot find their way through the mass of content that is of interest to them
- As creators, Web users are obliged to engage in disseminating and referencing activities, far removed from their real interests, if they want to attract the audience their content deserves.
In practice, therefore, the Web’s democratization potential remains unfulfilled.
There is one missing link to a fully participative Web: user’s ability to guide and direct other users through their own Web.