Thoughts on the signficance of Web 2.0

A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenomenon in i...

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Posted by Claire B. Rubin

A few weeks ago, I read an article titled Researchers Claim Web 2.0 is a Massive Leap Forward in Evolution; it’s actually a press release from a conference newswire of the Future Research Group of the World Mind Network in Geneva.  This is a rather bold statement, as is the name of the think tank.  I have been intrigued with some of the points made since I first read it.   The article stimulates, poses some negatives, and ends on a hopeful note for more exciting times in the future with the use of new, powerful technologies.  A few quotes from that article are worth pondering:

…this [Web 2.0 development has enormous implications for business, culture, government, education, the Environment and sustainability – and yet almost no one realized this, because we’re too close to the situation to view it comprehensively.” Those who do realize it will be able to change society… because the power of today’s web to connect brains instantly ensures that ideas can be refined, shared, experimented with, improved, and perfected at warp speed, by hundreds of people in dozens of countries.

…according to the researchers, we have been given tools in the last five years which are …potentially revolutionary.”  The article then goes on to mention the prospects for Facebook, Skype, YouTube, Wikipedia, Google, and Twitter.

Finally, this important question is raised and answered, in part: Why do most human beings not sense the enormous power of their new tools?  Their replies include “ most web technologies are marketed as toys.” and “…most of the early adopters of Web. 2.0  have largely been young people, who tend to be more interested in entertainment than in changing the world.” “And the trivial and in some cases harmful uses they make of the new technologies do not inspire their elders to explore future. Additionally, very few people of any age consistently ask what the new tools can do IN COMBINATION.”

We welcome your thoughts on this topic.


2 responses to “Thoughts on the signficance of Web 2.0

  1. I think it is simpler than that in emergency management – I believe that we don’t have enough emergency managers yet with the vision and creativity to see the potential that new technologies are bringing, ones that could even invert the citizens relationship with emergency management and government. At least in the US Craig Fugate has recognised this and is engaging with new tech communities such as CrisisCommons.

    • Agreed, it helps a lot when the head of FEMA uses and advocates the use of new media in emergency management. But, it probably will be years before general acceptance is achieved.

      [Note to readers: Gavin lives in New Zealand.]

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