Friday, July 16, 2010

Web 2.0- How do you like me now?!

Several years ago I heard the term “web 2.0” being talked about. The premise of “2.0” was that the internet would be interactive. The traditional internet/web experience is that you went to a site, pulled off the information you wanted and that was about it.  In “2.0” you could interact with the site or the program. I didn’t quite fathom what they meant.

Media, up to that point, flowed one way. The sender transmitted the information to the receiver, end of story. Then I heard about blogs, then MySpace, and now Facebook. With these new forums, the sender-receiver relationships changed. We could now react to this information. Everyone has a voice. The first interaction I probably had was to comment on an online news story. Then I was turned onto MySpace. I was able to express myself through posts, pictures, wallpapers, etc. This was a good way for me and my friends to share pictures, make pithy comments or poke fun of something. Then it became irrelevant. We all jump shipped, en masse, to Facebook.

Once on Facebook, I was able to connect with everyone I grew up with, worked with, or had an interest in. Like many, it has really changed me. From not knowing what a childhood friend was doing for the past 20 years to now knowing what they ate for dinner is a really interesting lifestyle change. We are now connected and immersed in this technology. For those of us with a “Smartphone” where we have 24/7 access to the internet and these 2.0 services, it starts to turn into a borderline obsession.

A few weeks back, I recall an NPR program that stated that our attention spans are reverting back to how we were when humans were just hunter-gatherers. Their premise is with the information overload that we are currently being bombarded with, we are losing the ability to concentrate. They said we are re-wiring our brains. Like the hunter-gatherers that had their heads on a swivel, looking out for everything, we are losing the ability to concentrate for long periods.

Their example was in our ability to read a book. Many of us now cannot concentrate long enough to sit down for hours and read a book. Because our reading of quick, short internet tidbits, posts, and stories, we lose interest. What are your thoughts? Have you tried to read a book recently, but didn’t have the patience? If you already have started to tune out in reading this, it may be true for you.

For me, I personally feel that I am more obsessive in gathering information. Like the hunter-gathers, I am constantly check my phone or the internet for updates. How much information do I really need to know? I know I am not alone because I see many of the same people around me doing the same.

The other thing about “Web 2.0” that has become a strange anomaly is how easily people share information about themselves. A short status update can say a lot about a person. We are quick to jump on a politician or other public figure that flubs a statement, but are our accounts online any different?

I will leave you with this caution that many people forget. If you state it on the internet, it could be permanently out there. That midnight, merlot-induced rant could come back to bite you in the ass. Be careful what you say because when you least expect it, it could back to haunt you. Many times I say to myself, what would a potential employer or my mom think about my posts? Other times I throw caution to the wind, but at what cost to me?

1 comment:

  1. If you don't believe me, go to this NPR story: