I expected to find the The New Wisdom of the Web cover article in Newsweek off the mark in some way: they would miss the point, or over glamorize it, or just get it completely wrong. Well, I was wrong. Steven Levy and Brad Stone do a great job, and not just because a lot of my favorite people grace its pages (like Stewart Butterfield and Catarina Fake of Flickr, and Mary Hodder of Dabble — whose interview in the New Visionaries series should be going live later today).
In the conclusion, they get pretty close to dead-on, including catching Guy Kawaski second-guessing himself. He pukes when he hears “Web 2.0” but likes the ideas that comprise Web 2.0 — which is just dumb. It’s a perfectly useful term, no matter how much mindless antihype seems to be heaped on it. Maybe next time they will interview David Hornik or someone else a bit more clueful.
And the ideas are… what again?
“When people say to me it’s a Web 2.0 application, I want to puke,” says venture-capitalist Guy Kawasaki. On the other hand, he admits that plenty of the ideas make sense. “People do want to share. They want collaboration, full time. They want all that kind of stuff.”
Less than a decade ago, when we were first getting used to the idea of an Internet, people described the act of going online as venturing into some foreign realm called cyberspace. But that metaphor no longer applies. MySpace, Flickr and all the other newcomers aren’t places to go, but things to do, ways to express yourself, means to connect with others and extend your own horizons. Cyberspace was somewhere else. The Web is where we live.
Yes, exactly. The Web is not plumbing, pouring bits onto our eyeballs. It is a giant, sprawling, social fabric that we ourselves are weaving, and that we ourselves form. These apps form the the loom that brings the threads together, and helps us collectively become more alive, larger, wiser, and, yes, better.