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What am I bid? : reading, writing and ratings at eBay.com
Current educational literature is awash with talk of 'new literacies', 'technoliteracies', 'multiliteracies' and the like in response to the massive incursion of new information and communication technologies into everyday routines within modern societies. Much of this talk, however, is general and impressionistic. Considerably less systematic analysis and documentation of new literacy practices engendered and mediated by the Internet has been furthcoming, let alone discussion of what social issues and responsibilities such new practices may evoke. This chapter fucuses on the emergence of a new literacy practice: the community ratings feedback system on eBay - which is a new way of reading and writing aspects of the world important to eBay users, or eBayers. It explores this ratings system from two standpoints between which there is, increasingly, considerable tension. One standpoint is that of its creators -the owncrs and operators of eBay.com and their cummunitarian 'visionary' purposes for developing it. The other standpoint is that of eBay users, and their seeming appropriation of the community ratings feedback system for less altruistic, more self-serving purposes than those of the creators. Our aim is to capture something of the dialectic between the strategies of producers and the uses of consumers (de Certeau 1984) at play in the emergence of a distinctively contemporary practice of everyday life.