[Air-l] Web 2.0 - "the machine is us?"

Alexis Turner subbies at redheadedstepchild.org
Tue Feb 13 15:17:28 PST 2007

No, I believe the original way of finding information on the web involved 1) 
search engines and 2) static hyperlinks...generally built on static pages (ie - 
they change rarely, and are updated by people who can write HTML).

But I believe new methods allow more sophisticated ways to search for 
information.  A site like del.icio.us, for instance, that employs tagging by discrete entities 
(individual, identifiable humans) allows one more fine-grained control of the 
search process.  Instead of searching Altavista's picture of the entire web, 
you can instead narrow down on 10 individuals whom you have found to be 
consistently interesting and follow their linking patterns over a long period 
of time.  In doing so, you become exposed to new terms, and friends of theirs, 
which allow you to create new searches.  Likewise, an increased emphasis on 
standards (XML, separation of form from content, etc), means that a myriad of 
such sites can be more easily accessed by a *single* home-grown software 
solution, thus automating a large-scale search/parse.  10 years ago, there were 
a thousandth of the pages.  I could do it by hand.  Now?....

In other words, there are simply more options, and 2.0 provides us with tools 
that can better respond to the size the web has become.  We have become more 
sophisticated in our understanding of how to use the web, and, in turn, we have 
begun developing methods that can make use of that.  The realization that form 
and content must be separate was something we had to learn from getting wrong 
at first.  That is the knowledge that comes from experience, and why 1.0 could not 
have anticipated some of what we see today.

Is this completely new?  Of course not - it is a refinement to how a creative 
searcher would have done things 8 years ago, but it makes it obvious to a 
larger number of people, among other things, and it makes it easier, which I 
don't think can be overstated.  It is a signal that the web 
is maturing - we are becoming more aware of how to navigate it successfully (and 
unsuccessfully).  As the "article" (and I do use that term loosely) said - I 
don't think it is a new paradigm, I think it is a more nuanced and evolved way 
of approaching the idea of searching. This is where I think the idea of "Web 
2.0" is vaguely hoax-like, and *certainly* overblown - it is NOT a new 
paradigm.  It is NOT a platform.  But none of those criticisms should imply 
that it is entirely useless.  It is a recognition of a refinement in our 
understanding, and that in and of itself is pretty welcome in my mind.

On Tue, 13 Feb 2007, Ulf-Dietrich Reips wrote:

::You there write: "The incredible thing is that it offers a radically new
::approach to managing and finding information. Web 2.0 offers both information
::and tools, if you will, where Web 1.0 offered only information. Methods like
::XML, RSS, AJAX, and tagging, sites like del.icio.us or netvibes - these offer
::methods more powerful than search engines and hyperlinks for understanding,
::and finding, how information is connected. They improve the ambient
::findability of relevant material, communities, peers, and ideas."
::So, wouldn't this mean that "Web 2.0" started with Google search? Or ...
::wait... it started with Yahoo catalogues. No ... wait ... it started with
::Netscape inventing Livescript (now Javascript). No, hey, it must have started
::with the implementation of Web *forms*. Uh oh, and soon we are in TBL's office
::in Geneva looking at the first Web browser...

More information about the Air-L mailing list