participatory web

2 hints that the future has indeed arrived

Web 2.0 or, as I prefer, the “Participatory Web” is basically about increasing participation, and not all of it is revolutionary. Some is, at best, a new way to socialize or self-aggrandize. At worst-  a big waste of time.

But there are some wildly interesting things out there too. Here are two things that struck me as glimpses into the (not yet evenly distributed) future.

What would you add to this list to expand this little spy-hole onto what’s next.

1. The library of congress has posted its photos on Flickr (the most popular photo sharing site) – in order to get the public to help tag/narrate them.

2. Lessig’s read/write vision. If you haven’t yet, just watch it. I promise you won’t find it a waste of time. (if you do, you can slam me in the comments)

What else?

New media makes talk a lot closer to action

At first it was just email – as soon as you thought about someone, you could jot off a note, without searching for paper, stamps, your address book, getting it written, putting it in the mail etc.

Then it was IM – even more immediate.

Then it was these blogs – think a thought, type a thought, and boom, its published to the world (or the very small subsection of it that reads my blog). (Pro – more thoughts out there, lower barriers. Cons – not everything is as high quality as you might like.)

Now – I have an ear out to truly remarkable people that I might have never known about or met. Through Twitter, and Facebook, I have a very up close view of what they are thinking about and doing. Through Wikis, email, twitter, this blog, facebook and dozens of other websites, I can act almost as quickly as I find out about things. New conferences that are likely to collect wildly interesting groups of people – not only can I register, I can get involved. Contacting people about projects and expertise that I never would have tracked down, without this new social networking thing. Donating money to help women in Africa start businesses to support their families and communities. Keeping my imagination charged with the ideas and activities of others…. its pretty darn cool.

And another thing is going on. When I’m away from the internet – it seems so quiet. And I haven’t even begun to really get into things like digg yet.

So – what’s the next step in eliminating boundaries? If we look at Web 2.0 as the participatory web – a slightly different slant than the “social web” – then what are the possibilities? How can we make it easier to expand and achieve our goals, our dreams through technology?