Much has changed since the time people first thought of the web as a substantial way to disseminate and gather information. Now, we get online to express ourselves, talk, connect, share and collaborate with each other, reach the millions of strangers though a couple of clicks and keystrokes, be informative, influential, lead our own community and follow others’. Yet, it’s not how the stages are named , Web 1.0 or Web 2.0, that is revolutionary, it’s how we perceive the world and leverage the available tools into our own advantage, to make changes.
In the previous stage, Web 1.0, a colossal amount of information was published across the world by those who had something to inform, whether it was an institution or an individual. However, all this was done as a one-way process in which they didn’t communicate. It reminds me of the typical Vietnamese classroom in which our teacher gives lessons and we listen, write them down, and that’s it. No questions asked. No argument. We get smarter, more passive, and less interactive.
In Web 2.0. you’re given something called a blog. It’s pretty easy to set up (I’ve just upgraded my blog to WordPress 2.7 FYI) . Once the setup is done, you start writing something. People start reading it. Comment on it. And discuss. You build a community around it. You lead. They follow. They lead, you follow. More interaction. More importantly, you have a place to talk about whatever the heck you have in mind. And more often than not, they persons who read you blog are those who’re willing to listen and give feedback. Oh, there’s something called micro-blogging (Twitter) and another thing that lies between blogging and micro-blogging (Tumblr), which greatly improves your communication.
You were given a home assignment. You did it, submitted it to your teacher. They marked it, and gave it back to you. Now you’re given the same assignment. Your team may possibly search for information on the web using a Search Engine, talk with each other via IM, collaborate with each other using Google Docs, submit the assignment via a Learning Management System such as Moodle. You’re sick and cannot go to class. That’s fine. Your friend can deliver the presentation for you while you stay home and make changes to the remaining slides, which will appear exactly the same on the LCD screen at your class. Your team can invite others to login and talk to each other while they’re viewing it via the web. Because there’s an online version anyway. Once it’s done, you upload your Slide The Great to Slideshare and the world is now viewing it.
You happen to read a piece of news that someone else was covering in much more detail a few hours ago. You were reading an article about the Mumbai attack while hunreds of others were live broadcasting the event at any given time. There’re many fancy things on TV but you’ve figured out you can pick up your own digicam and broadcast yourself live (or delayed) so that millions of others can witness your beauty, wisdom, or stupidity, whatever.
Feel offended by the recent suicide-themed ads campaign by Pepsi? Kick their asses by going viral with your hashtag #pepsi like @christinelu did and they’re done for.
Relax. You can also connect and interact with your buddies via social networks such as Facebook, Hi5, and Yume.vn (I’m promoting them ^ ^).
At the end of the day, you feel empowered. It’s all yours and because of you. Though you don’t fully realize you’re being a part of it. You’re indeed. Embrace the revolution, not by calling it by titles, but by practicing what you’re entitled to at your discretion/proposal. Be yourself.
No clue? Start a blog/microblog/tumblr. Join a social network, use web apps such as Google Docs or Zoho. Have fun! and no shit!