Thursday, December 29, 2005

timbl's blog (& social networking)

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who developed the WorldWideWeb protocol back in the late 80s, began a blog on December 12. "In 1989 one of the main objectives of the WWW was to be a space for sharing information. It seemed evident that it should be a space in which anyone could be creative, to which anyone could contribute," he said. "Now in 2005, we have blogs and wikis, and the fact that they are so popular makes me feel I wasn't crazy to think people needed a creative space."
       Some people are talking about the collaborative, conversational, social media presently carrying much of the traffic on the Web as 'Web 2.0', the second version of the Web, even as they acknowledge that in fact Web 2.0 is what Berners-Lee intended the WorldWideWeb to be when he invented it in the first place. (E.g., Paul Graham: "Web 2.0 means using the web the way it's meant to be used. The 'trends' we're seeing now are simply the inherent nature of the web emerging from under the broken models that got imposed on it during the Bubble."
       A month or so ago the New York Times had an article on travel blogging services, and how people are using them to write about their travels, stay in touch with people at home, share their photographs, and talk to each other about travelling. On December 12, Business Week's cover story was The MySpace Generation, focussing on social networking sites like myspace and xanga, and describing the largely youthful tens of millions of people visiting these sites daily, posting profiles, pictures and weblogs about themselves, and talking to each other online. Wikipedia, the collaborative encyclopedia ("the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit"), also hit the mainstream media big-time this month, first because of a high-profile hoax posting, and then in the same week a study posted online by the prestigious journal Nature which found "Jimmy Wales' Wikipedia comes close to Britannica in terms of the accuracy of its science entries". (This article, Internet encyclopedias go head to head, is available online free, not often the case with Nature.)
       The social networking tools and websites, the explosion of the blog world, photo-sharing sites like flickr, instant messaging... this Web is not quite the passive one we're familiar with; it's a place where 455 people immediately posted comments to timbl's blog, thanking him for having created the web...

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