I finished the Tancer book earlier in the week and found two more passages that resonated with this semester’s theme. More importantly, though, I think I found the organizing principle for my paper: a personal history of net/web technology. I’m thinking that my own experiments in online communications over the past dozen years will help anchor and color what I say about the evolution of bulletin boards and newsgroups to 2.0 social networking. More soon.
Meanwhile, here are the Tancer passages:
For all the talk about how the Internet has enabled superior communication between us, it appears in some circumstances to actually reveal our insecurity, and in other cases, with its anonymity and its inability to judge, to provide us a way to avoid posing the most difficult questions or admitting our shortcomings face-to-face with our friends and relatives. And that leads to my question: Isn’t this technology, which has so much potential to bring us together as a society by improving our communication, in some cases actually isolating us? If we continue on the path of relying more on technology to help us answer the basic questions about why we fear things, how to get things done, and how to relate to other individuals, we will continue to drift further apart. But one thing is certain: As we turn to search engines to answer our deepes questions, we’ll continue to learn more about ourselves. (“What Are You Afraid Of? And Other Telling Questions)
And finally, looking ahead…
While Web 2.0 is still considered a buzzword, surprisingly the industry is already discussing Web 3.0. Web 2.0 has made incredible strides in just the last two years, taking us from a static medium to one that encourages all of us to participate, but the movement has also created unique challenges, primarily how to deal with the massive amount of content that is available. If I could place my vote for Web 3.0, the need I see created by the consumer-generated content coming from Web 2.0 is a method to filter all of that information for similarity of viewpoint, reputation, and accuracy. Until that occurs, all of this content faces the prospect of becoming a collection of noise that we may not bother to rely on in the future. (“Web Who.0″)