As part of my set of articles to rebut the blatant misnomer Web 2.0 I am trying to coin a few terms for the genuine societal changes that are occurring that the Web 2.0 fanatics are harping on about.
Terms that divorce the societal change from the technical ones.
The coming of the Information Society
We were already fortunate enough to live in an Information Society.
It arrived sometime after Unix day and before Y2K.
Of course we were far too busy getting-on-with-it to notice.
What this means to the average Joe is that they have access to amazing new tools to enhance their lives through information.
But the way society uses these tools is changing and changing in a significant way.
Immersion in information
We are now entering a stage of the Information Age in which people are immersed in the information they are using.
The web is no longer an impersonal and utilitarian tool like a pair of scissors.
The web is becoming a tool more akin to clothing.
Clothing was originally invented to keep people in the temperate climates warm and dry.
But it has become a way to express oneself and interact with others on a deeper, almost subliminal, level.
There are even sayings such as “Clothes maketh the man” that show the societal importance clothing has gained over the aeons.
While the technical purpose of clothing, to keep you warm and dry, remains the same the societal usage of clothing has radically changed.
This is the era of the Information Society we are entering.
The technology for the web 2.0 phenomenon is essentially the same as the technology of web 1.0.
However the way that society in general is using the technology has fundamentally changed.
The Information Society has become an all pervasive and immersive experience.
Just as it is hard to imagine walking around naked on the streets of London, it is becoming impossible for people to imagine living without web-based social networks and semantic-web enabled applications.
The web is now being used on a deeper, almost subliminal, level.
It is more personal.
Am I there already? – a test
So, are you a person that has entered the next stage of the Information Society? Are you Immersed?
Imagine the following scenario;
You are on a Caribbean island.
You are lying on the beach in front of a nice golden sunset over a deep blue ocean.
There is a light and pleasant breeze moving through the trees.
You have your favourite cocktail in your hand.
But I have not finished the exercise …
You have NO books.
You have NO radio.
You have NO TV.
You have NO telephone.
You have NO mobile/cell phone.
You have NO internet connection.
If the second part made you feel relaxed and fine then you are still in the old Information Society.
You think of the web as nothing more than a utilitarian tool.
Are you in the Immersive Information Society?
If the second part made you anxious, nervous, depressed or confused, you are