For over a hundred years, technological progress has been spreading change up increasingly. In the early years it took quite some time before everyone owned a freezer, a telephone or a radio. Computers, cell phones and internet were considered ‘commodities’ in virtually no time at all.
A couple of years ago someone started a web 2.0 craze. The magic word was ‘user generated content’ (UGC). (should you have been living on the moon: User generated content means that internetcompanies don’t even bother to create stuff to amuse you anymore, the just create a toy and let you amuse each other. Not a bad business model.) What was said to be revolutionary about the internet (mainly by people who had missed the aforementioned ‘telephone’ technology), was that it was reversed economy: the value of a product increased when it became more widespread. The web 2.0 philosophy was born out of this vision; give control back to the people and the internet will bring peace and prosperity to all.
Even though the popularity of this web 2.0 model might suggest otherwise, web 2.0 is -in fact- on the verge of collapse already (which could be considered ‘quick’, but hey: that’s the technological change for you). We are at a point were ‘more internetusers’ does not necessarily mean ‘more value for everyone’. A lot of times ‘more internetusers’ means: more clutter, more ‘noise’, more ‘annoyance’… and less value for others. Who or what to blame? I say: web 2.0.
The biggest problem with scientific or journalistic UGC is that it is often indistinguishable from content of professional quality. The biggest problem with creative UGC is that it is clogging up databases and search-engines. When you are looking for medical information, it is very difficult to ascertain whether or not the site you have reached is writen or moderated by trustworthy medical professionals or by well-meaning but ignorant amateurs (or a pharmaceutical company). When you are looking for quality artwork or good-quality video (like you will find on CultBlender.org) it can be very frustrating to have to sift through all that junk that’s clogging up sites like Flickr and Youtube.
I think it’s time for a web 3.0 philosophy, where good, professional and trustworthy content can be marked and easily found. There are new search engines out there, like Mahalo and ChaCha for example, that aim to do just that. They have human moderators rate search engine results, so that when you make a query for, say, ‘web 2.0 discussion’ you won’t end up on this page because it is not a well written, well documented piece of wrting, but merely a blogpost by a wellmeaning amateur. However, this new searchengine thing is not enough (even besides the fact that for a dazzling majority of queries you get a ‘no result’ which sends you back to Google anyway). We need to find a way to stop the madness. We need web three point o.