Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

I don't know if the term has permeated outside of the technogeek and/or educational circles, but we've been talking about Web 2.0 a lot recently. It's not a new program, not a new learning tool, it's a reference to an evolution of the world wide web that happened quietly, obscurely right under our noses. Like I said, we've been talking about it a lot lately in my technology circles, but the discussion in my Educational Technology class last night made the concept crystal clear, along with the importance of the change. Web 1.0, as they are now calling the first web species, was static, unidirectional and elite. Static because once a web page was posted it could, and often would, remain exactly the same for a long time. Unidirectional because we, the users, took information from the internet, a 99% one way flow of information from the net to us. And elite because you had to know HTML, had to have access to a server connected to the web, often paying for it. But in the last few years sites like Blogger, Car Forums, Wikipedia and now it's sister-site Wikispaces, Flikr, Ringo, My Faces, My Space and all these other sites have changed how we web. It's now bidirectional, we read, we absorb and then we give out information. It's fluid, very few pages remain the same for more than a nanosecond, someone is always adding, changing and revising. And most importantly it's universal. With Public Library access to the internet, with the fact that most Americans, and a good portion of the population worldwide, have computers in their homes with internet access, we ALL can be a part of the internet. And now we are all shaping the face of the internet. It used to be growing outward, constantly adding tentacles, but rarely changing what was left behind. Now every time we blog, every time we upload our pictures and every time we add our two cents worth into a wiki it ripples across the internet.
.
Go to wefeelfine and click on the heart on the left. In a moment you will see "Looking for feelings from people in the last few hours" and your screen start to fill with little colored dots, floating around the screen. I clicked on a purple square and a picture of a cat took over the screen and in front of it were the words "i feel so wretched if only we could have helped cassie the feeling of loss is just awful if only we could have spoken to her and tolda her things we needed to say, 24 mins ago / by someone". This site culls the internet for words that express feelings from all the blogs it can find, worldwide, and if you click on the words, it takes you to the writer's blog. Each one of those dots you'll see represents someone's feelings that they have shared on their blog. You don't always get a picture, sometimes it's just the words. It all depends on the blogger.
.
On 43things people list the 43 things they would like to do before they die. You can do a search and see all the other people that have a specific desire. For example I searched "cars" (duh!) and discovered that 2 people want to steal a car before they die, and one said they wanted to "steal another car". Again it's fluid, evolving as more and more people put in their choices, and as some change theirs.
.
On Zillow you get a Google Earth type interactive satellite map, except as you scroll around you see an appraisal value of all the homes on the map. It fluctuates as houses are bought and sold.
.
And finally, on The Dumpster you'll find something very much like wefeelfine, except it only looks for blog entries relating to breakups.
.
Yeah, a lot of this is like Jerry Springer does the web, peeking into people's lives and emotions. But let's face it, when I blog I'm inviting people to peek into my life. I don't put stuff on here that I'm not willing to share, and anyone who does probably would stand at their front window buck naked too. No common sense, there's a reason it's called the world wide web. Final thought on this: on my first visit to wefeelfine.com, as I sat there staring at those little dots bliping around the browser box, I felt some sort of life force in there. Nothing like a Star Trek alien is going to come out of the screen and suck my face off life force thing. No, just that those dots represented the lives of millions of people adjusting the web to add their two cents worth in. We've come a long way from the days I had the computer on in the background dialing The Motel West BBS over and over again, hoping for the crackling of the two modems connecting, but more often getting a busy signal. Just imagine what's going to happen in the next 20 years......

4 comments:

A Paperback Writer said...

Whoa. dude.

jannx said...

Hello Max. Wow!!! I had no idea the internet was changing the way you described it. I briefly visited a couple of the links that you mentioned in your blog. Again, Wow!! I think the ideas are fairly cool. I am going to have to mention these sites on my blog. I'll make sure to mention where I found the information. Thanks for sharing. :)

Max said...

Jannx - yes, feel free to mention anything here on your blog. Pretty cool stuff, eh?

jannx said...

Yes, very cool.