This is my first year back on the Web after a 5 year break. No, I’m not a Luddite; I did check my e-mail and Google News from time to time from a public computer. Having been intensely involved (addicted?) with the Net since 1993 I just thought it was time for a break. By 2005 it seemed things had reached a point where the noise was more than the signal – blogging has started to take off, world-wide use was growing geometrically and there just weren’t filters in place or networks that were workable for me. And I thought it would take a few years for the Web to mature to the point where it was usable again.
I reconnected in March and have been delighted with all that has occured; social media, tools, filters, aggregators, translators are all in place making it fairly simple to personalize my experience and interact with as much of the Worldwide community as I can. And mobile (I got an iPhone) is an interesting addition to the mix. So usability and portability are the first two themes that are welcome additions to the experience.
Connectedness follows from that and collaboration is right on its heels. I love being able to find groups focused on issues in which I am interested that are working together to make progress and institute innovative ideas and ways of improving the Global Village. I was reading a great deal during my hiatus and so have been able to bring a certain focus to all these new tools now available and couldn’t be more delighted for the potential they offer.
Now I’m hooked up to Facebook for family and friends, Twitter for the streams, reconnected to a few groups and connecting to a whole lot more with a truly international representation. The learning curve is over (this week) and now I’m trying to keep away from digital distraction and let all these tools find a proper and balanced place in life as I want to live it.
I’m most impressed by all the dialog taking place from all around the world on important issues facing the future of this digital life we are all hoping to share: net neutrality, open data and open source, social media – reputation and management, collaboration, cognitive surplus,digital pervasiveness and the Cloud. There seem to be a lot less manifestos and a lot more give and take as we come to terms with the realpolitik of the Web as it develops.
So it’s all good from my point of view. Where do I fit in, where does the Web fit in? My call, it’s all here and ready to use.
As to the future… well there’s going to be a lot of rough water ahead for all of us “surfers”. We’ve got chaotic disruption, climate change – whether you believe it or not – nearing a tipping point, cognitive surplus and cognitive elites – let’s hope for “noblesse cognitive oblige” and a rapidly changing world order -the BRICI’s are rising as America declines – that’s not going to go down well here at home. But most of all a future, or possible futures, that no one clearly sees and it’s too early too even sense the actual dynamics that are going to be involved. So we need people of good will, more connectedness (especially with the BRICI’s), more collaboration and more dialog. When has it ever been any different?
Links for further thought: