Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Paradigm Shift in Seeing the Potential of Paradigm Shifts

This is an old post brought over from the second incarnation of this weblog. It helps to show a small paradigm shift over time in terms of skepticism and even cynicism . I had participated in the Blog Day for the Environment action though with a good measure of skepticism. Following that effort, I decided to see if my skepticism was warranted. At one level it was but at another it turns out being right is not always the best thing. Regardless how right one is on a particular issue, one's own ignorance makes taking a position of generosity and equanimity the most optimal choice, if change is possible then improvement is possible. That does not make this wrong but it should not be the primary focus.

Using Sphere It!

  • For "Blog Action Day" 975 in the last 24 hours 8,730 in the last 7 days
  • For "Iraq" 2,375 in the last 24 hours 29,951 in the last 7 days
  • For "Burma" 276 in the last 24 hours 4,146 in the last 7 days (Free Burma 86 in last 24)
  • For "Britney Spears" 420 in the last 24 hours 5,035 in the last 7 days.

My point is not that these endeavors are a waste of time. Again, as was said before we are planting seeds. It is that grandiose worldwide attempts to use the web seem often times superficial. Not only did my feeble effort make little difference, which is quite understandable, it added only a thin veneer of connection and substance to the overall effort by simply upping the numbers. I suspect that there were few blogs which did not normally write on this subject that added any real weight to the momentum. A concerted effort by those blogs with the experience and insight into this issue working in a collaborative fashion rather than just adding numbers on might have served the cause better. Especially, if there had been some real dialogs regarding balancing environmental concerns and economic development which is both sustainable and enhances human existence. It seems that the current effort was more of a Digg-type popularity contest, "I'm for good environment" whatever that means.

I do believe that the potential to use the Internet as a collaborative tool is inherent in the system but most of what I have seen of Web 2.0 falls short of that effort. Most of what I glean from the web and pass on has already been recycled at least once before I get it. The fact that I can connect with 100,000 people and have pictures of their cats does not interest me. Ok, I am not that social. The more people or tags I add on the more superficial each connection seems to become. That's fine if my interest is only one way communication or a two way communication limited to some narrowly defined purpose such as selling something. Most "conversations" within the blogs I have witnessed are unilateral monologues with no real resolution just somebody being the last to post. This though has nothing to do with the web, it is the people using it.

I am not against blogs or the dialogs that I have participated in or a number of other online activities. I enjoy them and find them interesting and informative. Still, unless it comes from an expert in the field, and do not put myself in that category, most of what is readily available from Web 2.0 so far looks like fluff. The potential of what could be done by cooperative individuals working together however looks immense. This could take place in academic, professional and social change organizations. Perhaps I am disappointed that there is often more emphasis on overall expanse of the connections rather than the substance of those connections. There are though also glimmers of hope out there.

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