Saturday, September 12, 2009

#4 What is Web 2.0?

There's no denying that each generation feels that they have seen more changes in the world and how we live than any previous generation. The invention of the wheel, the engine, the telephone, the internet, the legendary sliced bread ..... an endless list of developments that have contributed positively to comfort and lifestyle.

Then comes Web 2.0 - "the second generation of web development and web design that facilitates information sharing and collaboration on the World Wide Web". What does this mean? To me, it means the internet is no longer just an information source that contains websites created by those in the know. We no longer need to have a degree in information technology, or pay someone who does, to share our knowledge or our life with the world. This is a simplistic view, but a crude summary of how I see Web 2.0.

We no longer have to leave the comfort of our homes to shop, bank, transact with government agencies, "meet" people, learn... who needs a library, a street directory, a travel agent, a car yard, a photo store, a newspaper, a bottle shop (oh no, wait, we still need one of those!!). But where do we go to meet people ... a bar? a nightclub? bingo? ... no, apparently we "go" to rsvp, or myspace, or facebook - virtual worlds where the selection is endless and everyone is suddenly td&h with a gsoh (which apparently means tall, dark and handsome with a good sense of humour).

So, does Web 2.0 fall into the 'positive contribution' category? Well there are certainly benefits - timesaving, less travel, no crowds. But what of SOCIAL SKILLS?? Trying to converse with todays teenagers .. (sorry, i have just typed a whole paragraph about the conversational skills and eye contact with teenagers and then deleted it because I was sounding ancient!). Suffice to say that whilst Web 2.0 is opening up a whole new world to all of us, there is no doubt that face to face interaction is a dying art. Then again, global interaction is another matter - with chatrooms and social networking removing the barriers of distance, our world is conversing like never before - maybe there is hope for world peace after all!

As the the concept of Education 2.0, I can see many benefits, especially living in a low soci0-economic rural area where the costs and distance are a formidable barrier to many considering higher education. However again, the social impact of such a revolution will make for an interesting change in acceptable communication styles.

Here endeth the rant!


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