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Dion Hinchcliffe's SOA Web Services Blog: Will Web 2.0 Kill Cyberspace?

I do think it's apparent though that Web 2.0 places are broadly piercing the veil of cyberspace in general


A lot of terms are bandied about these days when talking about Web 2.0. I constantly read, hear, and heck, write about user enrichment, social software, architectures of participation, cultures of collaboration and numerous other Web 2.0-style buzzphrases. All of these really are interesting and useful concepts in this space, but do they get to the heart of what's happening to the Web right now? Probably not directly.

In the end I come back to Dan Brown's perceptive comment last month that "perhaps we need to strip a way the things that are consequences of the core principle, not the principle itself." I think that's the key to getting at a working mindset for Web 2.0 ground truth. This allows us to reorganize our internal mental landscape of the Web and align it with some of the tectonic shifts taking place.

As part of this mental housekeeping, some things we take for granted on the Web will change for us fundamentally. In particular, I came across J. LeRoy's recent observation that Web 2.0 will finally kill the concept of cyberspace as a viable ongoing concern. And he's probably right.

One of the key aspects of Web 2.0 is that is connects people so they can effortlessly participate in fluid conversations and dynamic information sharing. At the same time, computing devices are giving people permapresence on the Web through PDAs, phones, digital cameras, and a slew of other emerging devices.

Before now, you had to consciously go to cyberspace by sitting at a PC and looking at it through a window, in essence going to a place where you primarily observed and gathered knowledge. Not any more.

Now the boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred and the activities become more two way and integrated with reality, with the canonical example being the hypothetical Taxi button on a cellphone. With going into cyberspace no longer being a discrete step (folks are more and more always there now) and with the primary activity often being to interact with other folks transparently, and you have a folding of cyberspace so severe that it just disappears into the ether.
user enrichment, social software, architectures of participation, cultures of collaboration and numerous other Web 2.0-style buzzphrases. All of these really are interesting and useful concepts in this space, but do they get to the heart of what's happening to the Web right now? Probably not directly.

In the end I come back to Dan Brown's perceptive comment last month that "perhaps we need to strip a way the things that are consequences of the core principle, not the principle itself." I think that's the key to getting at a working mindset for Web 2.0 ground truth. This allows us to reorganize our internal mental landscape of the Web and align it with some of the tectonic shifts taking place.

As part of this mental housekeeping, some things we take for granted on the Web will change for us fundamentally. In particular, I came across J. LeRoy's recent observation that Web 2.0 will finally kill the concept of cyberspace as a viable ongoing concern. And he's probably right.

One of the key aspects of Web 2.0 is that is connects people so they can effortlessly participate in fluid conversations and dynamic information sharing. At the same time, computing devices are giving people permapresence on the Web through PDAs, phones, digital cameras, and a slew of other emerging devices.

Before now, you had to consciously go to cyberspace by sitting at a PC and looking at it through a window, in essence going to a place where you primarily observed and gathered knowledge. Not any more.

Now the boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred and the activities become more two way and integrated with reality, with the canonical example being the hypothetical Taxi button on a cellphone. With going into cyberspace no longer being a discrete step (folks are more and more always there now) and with the primary activity often being to interact with other folks transparently, and you have a folding of cyberspace so severe that it just disappears into the ether.


So getting back to stripping away consequences to find core principles, I think Web 2.0 might boil down to something I call the three 'P's: Participation, Presence, and Pervasiveness. If I'm right, all other important properties we talk about with Web 2.0 (trust, radical decentralization, collective intelligence, etc.) should come out of these. More on this as I get time to explore the Web 2.0 memes next week...

I do think it's apparent though that Web 2.0 places are broadly piercing the veil of cyberspace in general (examples: uploading Flickr pictures from your wireless PDA camera, getting AIM messages on your cellphone, landline<-->Skype conversations, etc) while at the same time eliding the technical mystique of the Web and just putting it everywhere and surrounding everyone in it without calling attention to itself.

Whether or not Web 2.0 is ultimately the label people collectively give these emerging trends (and Fred Wilson encourages us to drink it responsibly), it will likely become so effortless to collaborate in the near future that cultures of collaboration will vigorously thrive and be driven by the greatly increased value generated by collaborating (over not). This must be true, or none of this will go anywhere. And that clearly isn't the case.

Technorati: web2.0, cyberspace, cultureofcollaboration

posted Sunday, 16 October 2005 1 PM EST

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SOA World Magazine News Desk trawls the world of distributed computing and SOA-related developments for the latest word on technologies, standards, products, and services and brings key information to you in a timely and convenient summary form.

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