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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Remember the power of a newbie



I want to thank Kim for her comment on an older post of mine entitled "The Power of a Newbie." In her comment, she says:

I happened upon this post, and wanted to let you know that you have inspired me to write more about each step I learn as I go along. For a while there I was feeling so far behind, that I didn't want to demonstrate my "late-adopter-ness" by posting things that everyone knows already.

And then I found this post, which made me realize that there are so many other teachers out there, just like me, that want to jump in feet first, but are just as overwhealmed.

Then I realized, we all have to try together. Post what we've learned, share what we try, and build on what we've read elsewhere. There's no place else to go but up.

Thanks for providing a starting point!


I just want to remind you beginners that I was a beginner too last November. The point of the whole article is:

When you are a newbie, you have something that tech-experts do not have: the perspective of a new user.


The article talks about how to be a great newbie and give a new perspective to things that expert users do not have.

Tim Berners-Lee Comments on Web 2.0

This reminds me of Tim Berners-Lee's recent comments on web 2.0 (hat to to my friend Karyn) where he says:

Tim Berners-Lee, the individual credited with inventing the web and giving so many of us jobs, has become the most prominent individual so-far to point out that the Web 2.0 emperor is naked. Berners-Lee has dismissed Web 2.0 as useless jargon nobody can explain and a set of technology that tries to achieve exactly the same thing as "Web 1.0."

What Web 2.0 tries to achieve may be the same as Web 1.0 but how Web 2.0 achieves it is completely different.

Words are important
First of all, I'd like to say something about words. We use words because we need to talk about things. We need to discriminate and establish that something has changed or has not changed. The first step in discussing almost anything is to give it a name or a label. Is there any wonder that the first thing we do when a child is born is to give it a name. Things with names become real and tangiable and we become able to engage in conversation. To deny something a name is to deny the discussion of that topic and its existence.

Perspective is Important
Tim Berners-Lee discusses the web from an expert-inventor standpoint. He did create the Internet to create. However, those creating were techno-experts not the average person! Here is what I said to Karyn about this discussion:

From his [Berners-Lee] perspective it [Web 2.0] may be the same[as Web 1.0], after all he was creating on web 1.0. However, the average person wasn't. I did because I created web pages, but the average person just clicked and read and that was it. Now they are creators and are involved in the process.

So, I guess from his perspective he doesn't see the difference. But to truly understand the difference, you have to look through the eye glasses of the average web user and that is a perspective that Berners-Lee doesn't have.

I respect and admire Tim Berners-Lee, but as just another humble blogger on the blogosphere, something has definitely changed about the Web and we should be able to talk about it!

And then another commenter said it all on Karyn's Blog:

Martin said...

It feels a little like the Wright brothers complaining about the inventor of the jet engine.

Wow! Sometimes the meat of an article is in the comments!

We can get all semantic on this but the fact is the Internet has changed as our whole communication structure has gone online. If we don't want to call it Web 2.0 then what? Shouldn't the web evolve like anything else?

Are the change advocates that initiated the web itself becoming resistant to change?

I think the whole point of web 2.0 is in the power of a newbie and we now have some of the fastest growing groups of beginners that we have seen in the history of the Internet. I hope we focus on how to improve the Internet and not over analyze where it is. Pinpoint where it is today and miss the point tomorrow!

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