Thursday, January 24, 2008

Testing Web 2.0 Waters

I grew up swimming in cold rivers and creeks. As you may know, there are two ways of getting into the water for the first time. One method is to stick in your toe, next your foot, then the other, and gradually work your way into the water. The other is to plunge right in all at once. My dad was a great plunger. He would stand tall on the dam across Cypress Creek in Wimberley, TX, stretch a little, and then dive right in. I was not always that brave, and often used the gradual technique instead. I found myself thinking about that today as an analogy of the ways to get involved with new technology, specifically Web 2.0, for the uninitiated user. The reason I am mulling this over is because I am fixin' (as we say in TX) to give a conference presentation about Web 2.0 and also to discuss it with a class. I know that a fair number of my listeners will be relative newcomers to Web 2.0 since it is so heavily blocked at so many schools.

So I asked myself...what is the equivalent of sticking one toe in the water? Before even thinking about it, I would want to know what the heck Web 2.0 was anyway. For this, I recommend the great YouTube film called The Machine is Us/Ing Us, found at
This would be sort of like laying out your towel and applying sunscreen.I decided that first real step would be to find and follow some good educational or library related blogs. Using a blog aggregator such as Bloglines would be dipping the other toe. Next would be to learn the strengths and weaknesses of Wikipedia (one foot) and YouTube (the other). Moving along with the analogy, I think that learning to use a social tagging site such as would be next. This might be followed by wikis and Nings. What next? If I were building a heirarchy of experiences, starting with the easiest and moving along until one is fully immersed and swimming with the big fish in the Web 2.0 waters, how would I proceed? Yep, I am asking for ideas...

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