Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Beyon Walden, Beyond Google

The goal of the next generation of web activity will clearly be two-fold: content and editorial. Much of what makes its way onto Web 2.0 will be equivalent to most telephone conversations: practical, occasional, and ultimately unsaveable. The goal of the first generation of web use was the birth of a library-of-all-libraries that was also a landfill of sorts, an achive of all knowledge deemed to be useful by someone but also a repository for all sorts of dumptruck loads full of digitized waste that piled up for no purpose, except that someone deemed each bit and bite worth saving. There certainly will continue to be diamonds amid this ever expanding rough, but there will also be ever more "private" sites that are useful only to a coterie of two or three. The public face of the 2010 web, however, will be determined by a series of self-appointed or publically-appointed editors, guardians of urls and domain names whose function will be the sorting, selection, and revision of existing digital materials to produce sites that have social utility and web-spaces that have personal or public functions. We can then imagine a cluster of websites and web-work: my personal web (private, archival, personal, password protected), my family web (correspondence, photos, intimate, partially passworded), my collegial web (inside jokes, shared assumptions, clubby, collaborative), my professional web (evaluative, fully public, reputational, promotional), and the World Wide Web (journalistic, editorial, passive, receptional). From a solitary Google-site at Walden Pond to a collaborative Google-search of the Boston Public Library, we are now moving from one Web to many webs, from a 'Net like a fishnet--primarily designed to capture--to Webs like spider webs, not just our feeding ground but also our home.


Ed Webb said...

Again with the hierarchy? Or is it concentric cirles or, rather ripples on the pond? The tension between chaos and order is what we have to navigate.

Ashton Nichols said...

So right again, Ed; not a hierarchy, let's call it a cluster? A