Friday, April 25, 2008

Breaking the Barriers with Web 2.0

As quickly as we adapt to our rapidly changing world Shift Happens. How did we manage to get by with a Web 1.0 world, and even before that, no web at all? With the remarkable advances made in technology, the world is at our fingertips. Web 2.0 embodies the notion of user-generated social networking.

We quickly forget how we managed to collaborate, not just across town, but also across continents. Before the advent of Web 2.0 how did we collaborate? People spent hours on conference calls, in person -- requiring travel by car, trains, planes racking up expense accounts—But now, we can collaborate via different applications using Web 2.0 technology including wikis and Google Docs, allowing users from anywhere in the world and who have access to a computer and the internet. Google Docs is a shard document in cyberspace, saving time and money, collaborators use their collective knowledge and make things happen.

Second Life is a virtual world where “Residents,” who reside all over the world, interact. Before Second Life there were various ways to interact professionally and socially: telephone, in-person, business lunches, happy hour, out on the golf course and more. However, few of the drawbacks with the old-fashioned way of interaction were time, money, social status, and transportation. However, in the virtual world of Second Life the user can create either an avatar, who reflects an accurate representation of their true self, or an alter-ego avatar, living a life that only realized in a virtual world.

Imagine life in the early twentieth century when getting the news meant buying a newspaper from a paperboy standing on the corner on the way home from work. How times have changed! RSS, Rich Site Summary, affords users to push news and other breaking information instantaneously to their computer. Setting up an RSS is easy, simply subscribe to an aggregate or reader such as Bloglines and choose sites with the RSS icon: and add. RSS, save users oodles of time because they do not need to click through various sites to retrieve information and is automatically delivers up-to-the-minute information straight to your desktop.

To upload, is the action of transferring a data from a file to another. Flickr, a Web 2.0 application enables users to upload, manage and share photos to anyone, anywhere. Of course, it is up to the individual whether to make their photos available for public or private use. Sharing photos is simple with Flickr. Besides Flickr, there are many other conduits to upload information, including the popular website, You Tube, where users upload a variety of videos ranging from crazy stunts to educational applications.

A fantastic application to communicate is through social networking sites, for example, face book and myspace. Prior to Web 2.0 technology, we communicated in person, over the telephone, through e-mail, and snail mail and we communicated at various venues such as school, restaurants, parks, at the office. The big difference is we had to communicate in person or over the phone. Now, we can communication virtually from anywhere: through social networks, by posting messages, photos, videos, and more.

Before the advent of computers, libraries relied on the Dewey Decimal system to bring some sense of order from the chaos of millions of books – a classification system. The downfall of the DDS – one had to be specific to find the book they were looking for. In contrast, tagging is a categorization system used by Web 2.0 technology, but tagging is user friendly and sorted inherently. For example, “Pole Vault,” “vault,” or “meet” or “jump.” A user can tag a topic using various words and still locate it. Flickr and utilize tagging.

Internet users around the world share information at the click of a button. Users share photos, thoughts, videos, promote a viewpoint and can even share their political viewpoints. For example, a search on You Tube, for Hilary and Obama indicates thousands of video posts ranging from past debates to parody. Web 2.0, technology brings sharing to a completely new playing field. Other ways users share information is through wikis, personal networks, and photo sharing sites such as Flickr.

If you have an opinion or viewpoint to share, how can you reach a large audience? One way, the old way, was a letter to the editor of the local paper. But now, blogging has taken over the internet highway. Blogging is valuable for several reasons: it is instantaneous, accessible to anyone with a computer and internet connections and open to anybody anywhere. Blogs can be used to share public and private information, such as a travel diary, viewpoints, and reflections on Mastering Cyberspace for IAS494 at Arizona State University.

Wikis, Blogging, You Tube, Google Docs are just a few of the ways Web 2.0 contribute to the vast melting pot of knowledge. For example, earlier in the semester a group of students collaborated, each contributing to create a body of shared knowledge on Netiquette. Each of the students brought their knowledge based on research to the table, refined, and eventually published a wikie on Netiquette.

Web 2.0 is on the cutting edge of breaking through past barriers for that enable users to blog, communicate, collaborate, upload, interact, tag, participate, push, share, and interact.

Shift Happens.


Bloglines. Retrieved April 20, 2008 from

Facebook. Retrieved April 18, 2008 from

Google Docs. Retrieved April 20, 2008 from

O'Reilly Network. What is Web 2.0. Retrieved April 21, 2008 from

Second Life. Retrieved April 20, 2008 from

You Tube. Shift Happens. Retrieved April 24, 20008 from

Wiki Up. Retrieved April 20, 2008 from

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