Thursday, 1 November 2012

Task 1b...

‘Never before in the history of the planet have so many people on their own had the ability to find so much information about so many things and about so many people.’ Thomas Friedman (2006)

I approached task 1b with fear and trepidation. I have always considered myself to be computer illiterate and just the title Professional Communication Technologies had me reaching for the dictionary.  This to me was my first major challenge.  I decided to instigate the power of positive thinking, focus and start at the very beginning.  

Ironically, I went onto the Google web page and typed in 'Web 2.0' and I discovered that the phrase 'Web 2.0' was coined by Dale Dougherty whilst at a brainstorming session to describe the new web environment after the dot-com bubble crash.  As I researched further, I was surprised and secretly relieved to discover that Web 2.0 was already a big part of my life.  I frequently use Facebook and twitter to communicate with my friends. I put videos on YouTube, research on Wikipedia and here I am writing my own blog and 'Googling' Web 2.0, phew.

So with my new found knowledge of Web 2.0 and the ability to recognise its use as a valuable social media networking agent, I decided to look at how it had evolved from the original Web 1.0. I went back to Google, entered 'Web 1.0' and was immediately transported back in time to my teenage years, with examples like My Space, Ask Jeeves, Britannica Online and a variety of static sites that allowed the viewer to view pre-determined material.  Web 1.0 displayed information but didn't allow two-way interaction; it simply told you what you wanted to know.  Reading through ‘Reader 1’ I see that Web 1.0 is described as being like a newspaper or T.V. It didn't offer instant communication or explanation, only the creator could express thoughts and feelings.  So I can see now how Web 1.0 has evolved into Web 2.0, it really is an enhancement of Web 1.0.  Dr. James Hogg from the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality described Web 2.0 as two ‘A’ words: “Anytime. Anywhere.”  I take this to mean what the web is right now. When I log onto the internet I get the same thing no matter where I access it, its 24 hours, and 7 days interaction.  So Web 2.0 - simply put - is the second generation of web-based communities.

Tim O’Reilly cited in the ‘Reader 1’ describes Web 2.0 as a series of platforms, without a hard boundary. As a performer it is easy for me to understand the concept of a ‘platform’ as a stage, a performance, a place where for that moment you can share your ideas, opinions and emotions and they are valued and listened too. Web 2.0 for me is an enabler allowing the user to communicate. It is a place where you can express yourself and, for that moment, you have your own platform.

So what does Web 2.0 mean to me personally? 

As a performer, working predominantly unsociable hours and spending months away from family and friends, Web 2.0 has enabled me to feel included, and involved. Web-based technologies allowed me to see my newly-born twin nephews’ first moments after they were born, despite being on the other side of the world. It enabled me to be involved in the planning of my best friend’s 21st party whilst being docked in the Amazon.  I have been able to participate and share in the excitement of my brother’s wedding blogs and shared family holiday snaps. Its enabled me to keep friends and family close. 'Skyping' my mum, seeing her face and hearing her voice whilst being in the middle of a force 8 gale in the Bay of Biscay, kept me sane.  It has simply helped me keep in touch with my ‘real world’.

Professionally, Web 2.0 has enabled me to interact with prospective employers by sites such as Facebook that advertise auditions. I have used YouTube to promote my show reel, knowing that it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at any time. One of the best contracts I ever had was cast purely by me submitting my show reel. Web 2.0 has given me control of the information I deliver. I can add information and data to the site at any time - day or night.

Academically, Web 2.0 has given me the opportunity to access this course whilst continuing my career. I can interact with my fellow students, communicate with tutors, collect information, research and download data all at the press of a key from wherever I am in the world.  However, I do realise that there are limitations to this technology. Lorenzo, in his article ‘Ensuring the Net Generation is Net Savvy’, poses the question "Do we know what we are doing, whether the information is valid?" and warns "information is not just created by experts – it is created and co-created by amateurs". Lorenzo then recognises that, for the student, sorting valid information from mis-information is a constant and ongoing challenge. So just how credible is the information we obtain from Web 2.0. Wikipedia is a good example of the type of site Lorenzo warns us about, anyone can edit and add information.  Wikipedia itself states there is no easy way to see which information or article was added by which editor.

I believe that the responsibility lies with me to be ‘Net Savvy’ to protect my credibility by taking educated risks, looking and evaluating the content of the information supplied by looking at the structure, the dates, the references given and using my own judgement to reach a conclusion on its authenticity.

So as I end this blog, I feel I have gained a deeper understanding and knowledge of what Web 2.0 actually is and what this new technology can offer me, both in my personal life and in my professional life. I am intrigued and excited to delve deeper into the new tools and technologies available that will further enhance my career.  As I end my first ‘academic’ blog I feel empowered, and encouraged by the experience. 


Dale Dougherty (2004) (O’Reilly Media Company conference)
Charles Dziuban and George Lorenzo (2006) ‘Ensuring the Net Generation is Net Savvy’
Thomas Friedman (2006) ‘The World is Flat’
Dr. James Hogg cited in ‘If someone asked you to explain Web 2.0 would you have an answer’ by Ashley Pinder (2009)
Tim O’Reilly cited in Reader 1

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