Web 2.0

People that I work with assume that I like web 2.0 technologies and it’s true that I do enjoy playing with the variety of tools out there. But I think that the thing that resonates with me (and I think this is true for all web 2.0 aficionados) is that these tools, or at least some of them, become an extension of the self.

My discovery of web 2.0 was accidental. I didn’t even know that I was ‘doing web 2.0’ for many years. I just found something that I found extremely valuable for me and made use of it. I think that is the way for most people. One of my hobbies is boardgaming. Give me the opportunity to discuss boardgames and RPGs and I will be able to talk at you until your eyes glaze over. For most people, 15 to 20 seconds is the threshold. But a site such as Boardgame Geek (www.boardgamegeek.com) or Consimworld (www.consimworld.com) gives people the chance not just to read, but to discuss, dissect and review with and for people whose eyes will not glaze. They may argue, disagree and engage in eleclectronic versions of anti-social or histrionic behaviour but, for the most part, they are engaged.

These are websites where people can not only read content, they can create it. The can see people discuss what they have written. They might have their 15 minutes of fame. This I think is the essence of web 2.0: the creation of engaged and involved communities that transcend the limitations of spatial proximity.

So in a sense, you can’t get people interested in web 2.0. You get people who are interested in something and show them tools that are extensions of that interest. Like to keep up with the latest news? What can an RSS reader do for you? Love taking holiday photos? Look how easy it is to share them with Flickr. Want to catch up with old school friends? You may find the people you want though Facebook.

Lots of people have looked at the implications that all of this could have for learning and information access, and I don’t propose to re-state arguments that others have made earlier (and better) than I. Instead, look at stuff that people like Mike Wesch put together (for example this presentation A Portal to Media Literacy):

Again, I also don’t want to go over ground that people have already covered about how this all impacts on library service delivery. Instead, read blogs such as Michael Stephens’ Tame the Web (for example, this recent post: http://tametheweb.com/2009/05/17/ten-ways-to-encourage-the-tribe/).

Find something interesting and experiment with it – you might something delightful and educational.

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