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October 21, 2006

Web 2.0

If you've noticed some technical issues here on the blog, it has to do with trying to navigate Web 2.0. When I originally registered the C3 blog with Technorati, I didn't really trace it on the blog-tracking site on a regular basis. However, when I looked at it a few days ago, I realized that whole months at a time had not been correctly indexed on the blog and that Technorati had therefore not acknowledged the majority of the writing that has been done here at C3.

All of this is related to an intriguing talk we had in one of my Harvard classes last Thursday by Kathleen Gilroy, the CEO of The Otter Group. The company produces e-learning programs and helps solve needs regarding electronic teaching and training methods.

Because I want our archives to be accessible to anyone researching particular issues in the blogosphere, I sought out information on how to get Technorati's "spiders" to index a blog's archive and found that the only way to do so was to temporarily pull down all the recent posts that had been blogged and then put up blogs that hadn't been correctly indexed on the main page. Then, when Technorati is pinged, it pulls down those old posts off the main page and puts them in Technorati's system.

Unfortunately, that meant that recent posts had to be temporarily pulled down and also that the RSS feeds sent out some false pings over the weekend, based on pieces that had been written some time back. The process isn't finished (halted, though, since Technorati is not currently acknowledging my pings, likely because I indexed so many posts on Friday). This may happen again at some point in the future, but I wanted to explain the recent problems.

Gilroy quoted Tim Berners-Lee as saying that Web 2.0 was finally starting to fulfill his vision. She said, "You are seeing a proliferation of content and a proliferation of means to access this content."

She said that she considers Web 2.0 a success because of the dramatic increases in people making content, with 50 million blogs now being estimated. Among the attributes empowering Web 2.0, according to Gilroy, is its low cost, its ease of use, its openness and its accessibility. Gilroy said she considers a Web presence essential now not just for corporations, but for individuals as well.

"I believe everybody needs an online presence, if you are going to be competitive in what you are doing," Gilroy said. She said that, to be competitive, most people today should have a profile on a social networking site, should maintain a blo and should also provide images and podcasts online.

The point of all this is not just to outline the problems we've had here on the site regarding C3 (and which we hope will end soon) but also to underline the importance of the Web 2.0 concept for the blogosphere and as an enabler of what we call "convergence culture." The importance of tools from YouTube to MySpace to Flickr to individual blogs in creating the tools necessary for massive user-generated content, in the real of entertainment and journalism and citizenship and in just person-to-person social relations, is changing the composition of our world in fundamental ways.

But Web 2.0 isn't always easy to manage (as I'm finding out), and it's important to realize the continued technical divide that exists for those who are not as adept at managing these tools or who don't have easy access to some of these tools.

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