We live in a world of never-ending upgrades and enhancements all carefully designed to make everything instantly obsolete and ensure that you can never get off the rollercoaster of consuption. This has been going on for years of course so it's interesting that the current craze for Web 2.0 and Library 2.0 etc has only got as far as 2.0. We should be in double figures by now at least - makes me think of an old joke about the big Hollywood tychoon (maybe Sam Goldwyn) commenting on the latest Biblical epic production, "What, only 12 disciples. Think I'm some kind of cheapskate. Get me hundreds!" I'm keen to see what happens east of the decimal point in the near future; whether we get into web 2.3 applications and how they differ radically from web 2.2. Actually there's a very interesting blog called Life 2.0 which has many thought-provoking articles on creativity, innovation and our relationship to technical advances.
I'm compiling a guide to all those Web 2.0 applications and have tested quite a few to see how they can be used in education. A major hurdle for the curious investigator is that you have to become a member of everything and that means lots more user IDs and passwords. I try to use variations on a theme for the swelling number of clubs and services that I belong to but it gets harder to keep tabs on them all. The answer is of course to use one of those password services that store all your passwords behind one master password. Attractive but isn't that a giant security risk if someone gets their hands on the master password?
I'm trying a lot of different services, some of which may transform the way I work and others that will have little or no effect. Social networking hasn't really inspired me so far though I can see enormous potential for those more "social" than myself. I've been using Facebook, Linkedin and a few others but they seem to demand a lot of care and attention to become really worthwhile. They need to become firmly embedded in your daily routines and need regular updates (that word again!) in the form of new fun objects, links, films, comments etc. How many such applications can one person juggle with effectively as well as everything going on IRL (in "real" life)? I've been working with Second Life for over a year now and the learning process involved in getting established there took a lot of time and energy. It's funny how many of us claim to suffer from stress about all the demands of modern society and at the same time willingly join up for activities that demand high levels of participation.
The minute I join yet another community/service/club and the welcome message plops into my mailbox I accept a certain level of responsibility. I want to be a "good" member of the community, show that I'm active and creative and feel that I'm contributing to the cause. Sadly, however, I don't always reach that level of commitment and it gets added to the list of things I feel slightly guilty about not finding time for. Becoming a member of something is, at least for me, a commitment and at present there are several potentially interesting communities that I'd like to find out more about but am unsure if I want to become a member of. Illogical I'm sure but it bothers me. How many things can you be an active member of? Writing this blog is a commitment too even if my readership is bubbling around zero at present.
"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." Groucho Marx