2006-10-21

Internet Perspective

So, okay. I've started blogs before, and they tend not to last me long. I get distracted, I get disheartened from lack of readership, or I just plain get bored with it. I'm trying to stick to it this time. Why? It's a Web 2.0 thing.

Web 2.0 is a term that's been flying around the industry for the past couple of years, and nobody is quite sure what it means. There are countless definitions, and countless "experts" willing to point out what qualifies and what does not. There are two main Web 2.0 camps, it seems, and we'll call them types A and B. A says it's the tranformation from web pages to web applications, including all the AJAX and SOAP and web services goodness that's so popular right now. B says it's the transformation from a top-down content-buffet where one group posts content and the other (majority) group consumes it, into a bottom-up collaborative user-content-driven system where everybody posts content for everybody else to consume.

Now, I think that both are very interesting points in the evolution of the internet, however, it is coincidental that they happened around the same time. Neither requires the other; they're no more related to eachother than a car is related to where it's going. The only reason they've been given the same name is because they're happening at the same time; this does not, mind you, make them the same thing.

As a developer, I've done quite a bit of work with the Type A definition. It's cool and you can do some really neat stuff with it, but it's much more evolution than revolution. Type B, on the other hand - well, the jury's still out on its revolutionary qualities, but I will say that it represents a much more fundamental shift in the internet, and in our world as a whole.

Where once we were fed the opinions of the rich, famous, and overqualified, we are now all engaging in millions of gigantic conversations between the average, mundane, and underqualified. Blogs were just the beginning; behold Wikis and social networking sites and YouTube and Flickr. These sites are about mass-publishing, not just mass-media. They're about everyone making their voices heard. They're about participation.

And that's why I'm trying the blog thing again. Participation. As steeped as I am in technology and the internet, as much time as I spend browsing the internet and as much time as I spend building the sites that make up the internet, I'm not a very good participant. You can browse the web, or you can join in. Well, damn it, I'm joining in.

I'm still undecided on my level of Internet intimacy. Some people are more than happy to post every intimate detail about their lives and their thoughts and their feelings for all the world to see and comment on, like their own personal reality TV show. I'm not that much of an extrovert; I have a lot of ideas, some of which I want to share with the public, and some of which are my own. I suppose that's a line each person must draw for themselves.

So, feel free to examine my music listening habits, or my personal photos, but don't expect all to be laid bare.
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