Thursday, February 08, 2007

Web 2.0 Video

Unless you've been on Mars, you have seen this. Chris Anderson put it best: "This is why I do what I do."

12 Comments:

Blogger Andrew said...

I saw this a few days ago but enjoyed watching it again. It's quite a good summary regarding the evolution of the Web as we know it.

Whether we like it or not - "Web 2.0" is indeed changing the direction of the Internet, it's no longer a one-way flow of information (e.g. getting your business an "online presence"). Finally, it's becoming something more - perhaps moreso, what the Internet was originally intended for - sharing.

2/09/2007 2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have not been on Mars but this is the first time I have seen this video!

It is very good, so thanks for posting about it.

In particular it explains reasonably well, and very simply, how HTML drifted away from the SGML/XML ideal of content and presentation separation.

2/09/2007 3:01 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I have to say that I eye-rolled a bit on the content/presentation bit. I think it's a red herring. Reusable data allows mashups and that's very Web 2.0. But the content/presentation-separation often acquires "religious dimensions," the idea that HTML is bad because it combined them. Now, we--the elect smart people know better. If only the world were to be like us, and separate them! (Segue into why content should be more than separated, it should be in semantic boxes, etc.)

The reason the web succeeded is that it let anyone do it. It's very easy to throw up bad HTML. It's harder to do it "right." The content/presentation separation is not intuitive to most people. It must be learned.

Content is now more separated more because people are no longer throwing up hand-built web pages, but making blogs and social pages THROUGH a service that "does it right." But we will never drive "messiness" out of the system. We will just get better and better at dealing with it.

2/09/2007 5:07 PM  
Blogger RJO said...

Hrmm. I guess I'm too much of an academic nerd to really like decontextualized advertising hype. The warm and fuzzy conclusion was just what Ted Nelson was saying circa 1985. This is new? Separation of style from content has always been good HTML form, for anyone who has known any of the principles for over a decade. And Philip Greenspun taught a lot of us online about the power of database-backed websites, user interaction and commentary, etc., in, say, 1995.

I guess I don't really object to any of the sentiments (though they are very simplistic); but the seeming implication that these ideas have just been invented, and especially that the author of this video had something to do with it, really irks me.

(And as for the simple-minded "text on paper is linear" canard, well, the only people who say that are people who have never studied the history of printing.)

2/09/2007 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hadn't seen it either, very thought-provoking.

One thing worries me... while we tag and tag and "teach the machine," can we necessarily claim that "we are the machine," rather than "we are becoming machines?"

The more we demand that our communication media be crammed with machine-parseable metadata like the semantic web and whatnot, the more we are just making the entire universe a machine. Do we all have to write dates in the same format, or use XML, otherwise the machine can't understand?

2/09/2007 7:54 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I think that, fortunately, the human mess grows faster than the scolds' ability to force order upon it.

2/09/2007 8:22 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Well, I don't think the author is asserting they have anything to do with it. It's not a company or anything.

As for the idea not being new, I see this as the tech world's reaction to blogs. Lots of people--me included--didn't see what was interesting about blogs. I mean, so you made an ap that made it easier to make a web page, not that it was that hard anyway. The difference is social, not technological. There's critical mass now, and enough of the technical stuff has fallen into place that what was possible in 1990 is now actually happening...

2/09/2007 8:28 PM  
Blogger Amanda Ellis said...

That video is awesome!

2/09/2007 11:56 PM  
Anonymous sunny said...

Keeps reminding me of Douglas Adams' Beyond the Brochure.

2/10/2007 2:13 PM  
Blogger Suds said...

You should add a small print at the end 'When it works(TM)' :D

2/13/2007 10:48 AM  
Blogger WorldMaker said...

I was most interested in the "Rethink" finale of the video, but I appreciate an honest attempt to pin down so many of the fuzzy concepts we guys on the forefront of technology are driving. (Tangent)

anonymous>> Do we all have to write dates in the same format, or use XML, otherwise the machine can't understand? <<

No, that's part of the point. Maybe the next guy to read your work tags it with a date in the appropriate format or maybe a smarter heuristic comes along and figures out your personal obscure date format of choice. Notice that isn't pie in the sky, that's current state of the art. You email me an upcoming event you are planning, and you aren't even thinking about which date format you are using but Google's event data search heuristics in Gmail pick out the date and give me a simple click to add it to my calendar. Maybe I'm encouraging other people to attend so I share that event on my calendar with a few select friends and in just a few seconds I've effectively "tagged" your original post with a more machine-readable version of the same information. I didn't even put much work into doing it, I just used the software I use daily.

All of this stuff is greatest when the machine-semantic isn't at the forefront of our consciousness but instead invisible from day to day use. Just pay good programmers to think of these things for you.

2/16/2007 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Woeful said...

I’m a librarian and a systems administrator, and I think that this video itself is excellent. I don't believe that Web 2.0 is fundamentally about separating content from presentation (CSS anyone). Sure it does that, but it's really about empowering people to be coincidental consumers, and contributors, sharing, participating, and interacting with the community. It's participatory... You might even say, "Social."

However, because of this, I also have mixed feelings about Web 2.0. Don't get me wrong, conceptually Web 2.0 fantastic! Everyone is very excited about the possibilities and rightly so. However, we should also keep in mind that for everyone trying to better the content (the machine), there are those out there trying to burn it down, as the numerous problems with Wikipedia have so clearly demonstrated.

The problems with maintaining quality and validity in this environment should be suspect. Know your sources. And the problems regarding privacy issues are ubiquitous as well. I really didn’t like the concept of having all the books that I read (LibraryThing), or the bookmarks I keep (del.icio.us) online for everyone to see before the current administration took power. In the current political environment, I think that we should be extremely cautious about this. Who doesn’t think that there is an FBI supercomputer compiling this data right now? They are already wiretapping our telephone conversations… That said, I‘ve caved and opened many Web 2.0 accounts. It’s just too damn cool not to! Big Brother is watching, and I’ll probably be the first one they take away…

2/20/2007 10:21 AM  

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