actual, interesting info from web-two-centric sources; no, really

In this site's so far short and intermittent life, I've made the necessary snarky and ironic comments regarding web 2.0.

So now I can come clean and admit to spending more than my fair share of time distracted by the subject.

Not the social networking sites like Cyworld MySpace and Facebook. And not the social bookmarking sites, like Digg and And not the alphabet soup of acronyms and initialisms commonly associated with things web twoish: Ajax; LAMP; REST; RSS; SOAP; XML &c.

Like almost everything new and improved this stuff is the re-creation or re-implementation of already extant ideas. Cyworld, MySpace and Facebook are re-inventions of older socially-centric tools like MUDs (and, more directly, MOOs); IRC; mailing lists; and even Usenet.

And Digg and are basically 'ya gotta check this out' e-mails (that people used to send only to their friends) writ large.

Which doesn't mean this stuff won't change all sort of things in dramatic and irrecoverable (not to mention unimagined and unintended) ways. Just that I can't take the breathless new new IT'S ALL SO SHINY AND NEW!!! hype seriously.

And it's the real, and often unplanned, changes that makes me (nearly) miss deadlines every now and then.

Which is exactly what happened when I lucked upon Lynette Webb's collection of Online Developments slides on flickr.

As of 2006/10/07, there were 161 of them, ranging from her slide suggesting that 'by 2010 the time teens spend with digital will be 80 percent' to her slide highlighting a data point from the Fluid Lives project: that '56 percent broadband users agreed in future won't be unusual to have close friends you've never met'.

Some of the slides are supposedly insightful quotes from various e-luminaries (which value will depend to a large extent on whether you agree with them or not) but most of them contain a nugget of information you probably didn't know.

Author: Brian Forte