Wiki-Web 3.0

The emergence of Web 2.0 created a web of connections between documents, ideas, and most importantly people. From vacation photos to bank transactions, the Internet began to mirror and take advantage of the online presence of individuals. Software improves with use. Retailers like Amazon can develop niche markets based on our search and purchase trends. And while the online experience becomes like a giant Facebook tailored to personal preferences, there is missed opportunity within Web 2.0.

A few days ago, Forbes published an article by AJ Herrera titled “Why You Need More Wikipedia And Less Facebook,” makes a brief but warranted case that the polysemous nature of links and searches found in Wikipedia is the real golden goose. Herrera argues that searches based on relevance (either Hub & Authority or PageRank models) keep us grounded in relevance.

“[R]elevance is like gravity. You don’t see it, don’t think about it and don’t really know it’s there. But it’s holding you down, quietly ensuring you learn more about the stuff you already know.”~Herrera

While this relevance is ideal for research papers or finding that exact recipe you were looking for, it does hamper curiosity. Let’s say I look on Wikipedia to see who will be starring in the upcoming Superman movie “Man of Steel”. Before I can even get into the all too familiar Wiki-Wave of topic to topic, the first page I land on has links to the Superman film, Superman comics, an Australian Superman musical…but it also has links to music with “Man of Steel” titles…and what is this “Man of Steel” Rugby Award? Pretty soon I’m learning about the rules of the Rugby League International Federation, something I would otherwise know nothing about. 

If we were to apply this characteristic of connectivity to searches like books or music, we could interact with the unknown, indulge in curiosity, and embrace randomness. So what will it be? Will Web 3.0 be more expansive like Wookieepedia and StumbleUpon or will it be grounded in the individual like Pandora or Facebook?

2 thoughts on “Wiki-Web 3.0”

  1. Kind of on topic i guess but I feel compelled to say that I love Wikipedia as an idea. It’s non-profit, does a great job of amalgamating and categorizing a brain busting amount of information both new and old. That being said, like any other public domain Wikipedia is prone to receiving users who post false or misleading information. Of course you can reference your comments, but some are referenced to bogus websites and a lot of the time information is not cited at all. This is the problem you run into when you let your users create your content: Sometimes, when the topic or Wikipedia page is well documented a variety of information on the topic exists and pages are more accurately cited by scholars and other credible sources. When not, and public opinion is divided, you get Wikipedia pages that match with information being posted with the intention of supporting one political or ideological extreme. While I would never ask of anyone to complete the daunting task of pouring over all the information on Wikipedia to conclude whether or not it is correct, I would ask of Wikipedia to become more involved in their role as disseminators of information. I think that given Wikipedia’s dominance as the go-to encyclopedia, they should do things to verify their content like offering some insight into a highly contested subject by funding research on the topic and providing us their findings.

  2. I’ve never considered the constraining nature of my experience on the Web, but you raise a good point. As my time online becomes more and more focused on my interests, I am put into a bubble where I only see things already somewhat related to me.

    If I had to guess about Web 3.0, I would say it will continue toward the personalized model you described. Advertisers are likely to want the ads I see to be based on what I search for and read about. I know advertising is not the only consideration, but it’s a big one.

    The onus will be on you to stay curious and seek new material. The good news is, due to the nature of the web, anything you search for will probably have a devoted community around it already.

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