Chris Anderson has a post about the question why people will have the time to produce content for the typical web 2.0 applications. And he is right: why would anyone have the time?
He calles it „spare cycles“ and refers to all those moments, when people are forced to stay in one place or condition, but don’t actually have anything to do, so they come up with silly stuff – or things filling the web 2.0 space.
He’s in his room, labeled „Sheriff“. Young guy. He’s watching a movie on a portable DVD player. That’s fine–he won’t be needed for another half hour. But of course „needed“ isn’t quite the right word. „Required“ is closer to it. He will be required by policy to stand by, gun in holster, while I take my laptop out of my nerd backpack. He may, fingers crossed, go his entire career without a terrorist going through that security checkpoint. He may indeed never unholster that gun in the line of duty. That sheriff is watching a movie because he has spare cycles. Spare cycles are the most powerful fuel on the planet. It’s what Web 2.0 is made up of.
Everyone has a little time that might be a „spare cycle“. Only some have more than others. And even if you have time, sometimes you’re too tired to use it for anything sensible, because you’d rather relax instead.
But generally speaking, I think it’s true: there is a lot of aggregate user time that can be tapped for participation in Web 2.0 content production.