Sunday, June 04, 2006

Web 2.0

It's time. I knew a Web 2.0 post was coming, but I didn't know the Muse would find me so quickly.

So what is Web 2.0? At best, it's the next generation applications of the web that will revolutionize the way we live, and, at worst, it's the next bubble that triggers a recession. The eternal optimist, I'm going with the former. But if you're new to this and want to really know what it is, don't listen to me, get it straight from the horse's mouth.

Besides, what isn't the question I want to answer. "How" is - how it will change our lives? The most obvious example to me is, of course, FaceBook. The thing has changed the way collegians live to the point that, starting with my class, we can't even begin to imagine life without it. I mean, how else would you know to mention Third Eye Blind as an icebreaker when trying to score a date with that girl in your Econ class?

But, if the pundits are right, we're only at the tip of the iceberg. Specifically, I'm interested in how the revolution will actually affect our lives, like the instance above. If the revolution has truly just begun, what's next?

My hypothesis is that the web will continue this trend of increasing organization, information, and networks in our lives. It will open doors and eyes. For instance, dogster has become a haven for pet owners to meet and discuss issues and even find a buddy to walk dogs with. Dogster and facebook have taken two different groups of people with loose associations and given them a place to interact. Organization of networks. But the revolution truly makes it mark on peoples' lives outside the digital world. That girl from Econ class you went on a date with last weekend or your new dog-walking friend wouldn't be there if it weren't for these websites. But there's gotta be more...

And there is. Let's take another example: dating sites. The past 10 years has seen the proliferation of these websites, with a moderate amount of success. But I think much more is possible. How, you ask? Are you kidding me? If I knew the how, I wouldn't be writing this. I don't even know the what. But my guess is that it will happen: some whiz kid will think up a new way to link people together, and the next generation dating site will be born.

Of course, the concept applies everywhere, to pretty much any aspect of life. A few years from now, maybe we will leave Moriarty's (our wings spot in Philly) with all the drink specials and cover charges at all the bars and clubs in a 3 block radius with lists of which of our friends are at which places, all on our phones. (Actually, we're taking the first steps towards that at winksite, check it out.)

Or maybe we won't. But things will changes. That is, after all, the beauty of a revolution.

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