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Saturday, August 04, 2007
  Web 1.8 Beta : Oxford Internet Survey and Web 2.0
Web 2.0 is a convenient shorthand for the way in which a combination of disparate but related elements promise to change the way we "inhabit" the web.

The term is also a horribly overworked cliche, a trite marketing ploy, and annoying enough to cause the imperturbable Nichthus to engage in a long discussion with AKMA and me (by a mix of posts and their comments Retrospect and Prospect, Bible, Babel and Web 2.0, ...and I clawed my way to the summit section "...Civilising the natives" and email) about Web 2.0 and education.

Now - despite the hype, marketing and twee graphics - the factors that are drawn together under this rubric have the potential to change "things" radically. Hence the 2.0 designation.

But what is the reality? A couple of days ago BBC News reported on the Oxford Internet Survey (a really interesting collection of information on Internet use in the UK). They focused on the evidence that the "Digital divide grows with web use", but equally striking is noticing that while
42% of students have created a profile on a social networking site such as Facebook or MySpace, but just 15% of the employed and 2% of retired people
and that
e-mail and internet messaging are still by far the most dominant means of online communication.
....
There has been an enormous increase in the use of search engines such as Google to find information - with 57% mainly using search engines, compared with just 19% in 2005.
But still,
Only 16% of internet users have tried to set up a website for personal use - and the proportion is unchanged since the last survey in 2005.
and
only one in 10 internet users have taken part in political activities online, such as signing an online petition
Which suggested to the BBC sub-editors a heading:
No Web 2.0 - yet
Maybe a better conclusion would be that what we currently have is Web 1.8 Beta ;-) Something that has the potential to be the start of a significant change, but which has still not been really tested, matured and made into a stable "product". That's why encouraging people to trial the Beta is so important, if we do not use it then we will be stuck with another product currently undergoing testing WebMax Web that serves the big corporations and media moguls where, at last, we are all reduced to consumers of what our "betters" think is trite enough to attract our feeble attentions long enough to pay...

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