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?