Scrap Web 2.0, yes, but embrace Knowledge 2.0 surely

Scrap Web 2.0, yes, but embrace Knowledge 2.0 surely

Summary: Perhaps I read too much Heinlein and Asimov as a teenager, but the kind of feeling I got reading science fiction then is the same type of feelings I get now while observing the unfolding of Knowledge 2.0.

TOPICS: Enterprise 2.0

Gavin Clarke at The Register provides a needed wet blanket to toss over all things "... 2.0," especially Web 2.0. In many respects he's right that the nomenclature suffix business is out of hand. Yet there is something new, quite new, going on and it should be acknowledged.

Part of recognizing the big new thing comes from Gavin's own article, which quotes a podcast transcript provided by IBM's developerWorks organization. The discussion captured and provided by IBM -- and evangelized by the press and bloggers like me -- is with Tim Berners-Lee, the individual credited with inventing the Web.

So here's a snarky mainstream IT website in the U.K., quoting a global U.S-based, vendor-supported podcast and accompanying transcript, fully open to anyone, that captures a natural-language telephone conversation between a vendor-hired editor and a European Web pioneer on a host of interesting and worthwhile technology and sociology topics and thoughts. It's all a quick search or a click or two away from just about anyone, anywhere.

Can you imagine such a thing just 10 years ago? What really deserves the numeral 2 associated with it at this time in history is not advertising, nor marketing, nor SOA, nor even the Web. It's quite a bit larger than that. What we are up to here is actually Knowledge 2.0, and it is at least a millennial trend, and it shows every indication of having anthropologic impact. That is, Knowledge 2.0 is changing the definition of what it is to be a modern human, individually and collectively.

When so much knowledge -- which includes art, bad music, data, goofy photos, deep insights, personal diatribes, porn, all the books ever written, satellite images of Earth, and spam -- is so easily available and categorized and stored and commented on, and when the barriers to finding at least some information on just about anything are so low ... well, something is definitely different.

Increasingly a major portion of the human experiential store is being digitized and made available to anyone. More importantly, much of the new stuff made of, by, and for humans is being created digitally and made available to anyone. Sometimes it's free, mostly it's affordable.

I know some bloggers and trolls think this is all just a rehash of other big information shifts, ala Gutenberg's press and cuneiform, or perhaps the advent of standards for telling time and measuring the size of a sack of flour. But I think this is shaping up to fundamentally change how people not only behave and learn, but how they define themselves and their world.

You now have a role within the global knowledge hive ... your personal scale has shifted. I'm thinking of change here on the scale of going bi-pedal, or being able to remember and recognize more than 10 people's facial expressions due to a sudden advance in cranial capacity.

Perhaps I read too much Heinlein and Asimov as a teenager, but the kind of feeling I got reading science fiction then is the same type of feeling I get now while observing the unfolding of Knowledge 2.0. It is awe.

What's especially interesting this year, and what smacks most of the Web 2.0 characterization, is that community is being applied to knowledge in new ways. The idea that vast amounts of knowledge bits can be evaluated -- even by glancing gestures or a fleet dab of attention (dig it?) -- so that said tid-bits become more valuable by moving within a vague hierarchy of attention by vast numbers of those experiencing the knowledge in real time is oh, so powerful. And at such scale and richness and speed, such critiquing is unprecedented.

The Knowledge 2.0 scale goes way up, and it goes way down. Fast. Content is not just created by "users," it's fomented into some order by other users too. And so on. And so on. Talk about peer review. There are always downsides to change, of course.

Now, for better or worse, anyone at all is a publisher, editor, evaluator, deleter, pundit, cynic, sharer, prophet, detractor, tattle-tale, ignorer, lier, pathetic, apathetic -- all of which anyone has done in their own personal or local sphere for as long as there was Knowledge 1.0. Now that sphere of knowledge interaction has no surface tension or bounds, it is only an inclusive shape.

The Knowledge 2.0 bubble is exploding, and it can not burst.

So while the get-off-your-cloud folks are poking needles into the Web 2.0 bubble, I have a better idea. Recognize that as you do that you are actually breathing in some of the newly freer air of knowledge, and exhaling some added bits of your own perceptions back in. Each metaphoric breath in and out is changing the world, like the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings in Timbuktu that then affects the weather in New York.

Like rare but all-altering biological explosions of the past -- we are in the equivalent of a Cambrian Period of human Knowledge.

Topic: Enterprise 2.0

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  • Now the Challenge is 'Managing' Knowledge 2.0

    I like the image of the "proverbial butterfly flapping its wings in Timbuktu that then affects the weather in New York." Dana's thinking about "Knowledge 2.0" has broadened my thinking about the capture and reuse of Knowledge 2.0.

    For all the glitter and glory given to Web 2.0, it is merely an infrastructure. Web 1.0 supported a new level of human interaction and information sharing. Web 2.0 lends itself to information modeling for human consumption. For example, information is tagged specific to how a person, rather than a system, can understand it.

    Under Web 1.0, information was one-dimensional. Web 2.0 information is multi-dimensional because it is always changing -- and each iteration of the information can be correct, refined, incorrect or less refined. Yet, this seemingly chaotic information stream leads to innovative thinking, new ideas.

    I grew up with under the wings of knowledge management -- in which information is modeled specific to the taxonomy to which it is assigned. Bringing structure to unstructured information allows the information to be leveraged many times over.

    My questions:
    - Is Knowledge 2.0 manageable?
    - Can it and all of its iterations be leveraged many times over?
    • Not managing it has benefits

      Thanks, Maurene, for sharing. But with K20, not managing, but
      letting the organic hierachies play out, are an important benefit.
      Because it's Web/blogosphere, not intranet, it's messy and not well
      defined, though Digg and others offer some structure. But it is at
      such high scale that qualitative benefits emerge. Structure would
      seem a limiter to me. People are unstructured, and so is most
      Dana Gardner
      • K2.0 Management is an Oxymoron, Yet...

        I agree with your both of your premises, Dana. The inherent output of participatory media is K2.0, as you've defined it. K2.0 is rich because of its broad and limitless organic growth. This is a good thing, which can only result in accrued value for all.

        Now that I've thought about management of "K2.0" knowledge, here's my explanation by analogy... Knowledge has no boundaries. Rather, it flows like water in a stream. When information arises in this knowledge stream that you can use, how do you capture it? To your point, Digg is one way. Furl (with its shareable Web folders) is another way. So is saving to a local datastore. I believe that knowledge management in a K2.0 world will incorporate both user-defined tags and organization-defined taxonomies. This doesn't necessarily mean that knowledge growth stops, rather it takes a detour out of the stream.

        Sorry to be so esoteric... I'll diagram this on my own "dime."
  • Bah.

    This is all obvious. Wait, you think you are smart because you talk that way or because you quote wikipedia? This article is an abomination. Web 2.0 is an abomination. 'nuff said.
    • You're doing it

      Believe it or not, you've elevated the discussion, and the knowledge
      well is a bit deeper, thanks to your entry. That is, too, I know,
      Dana Gardner
    • Dispite the "awe"....'s as stated, "a bunch of Jargon". Making your existance (or lack thereof) sound more important by coining a bunch of catchy acronyms and making up a bunch of fancy words that aren't needed, is simply mental masterbation. Generating techno-babble terms to make yourself sound "hip", is a sad hobby and certainly shouldn't be a profession unto itself.

      "Web 2.0" is nothing more than the "Marketizing" of Web 1.0. The evolution was natural and continuing and doesn't really need a new catchy nametag.

      A pile of poop by any other name....still stinks.
  • Card catalogues have been replaced...

    ... by computers at many libraries, eliminating the need to browse.
    Using the internet, now it's possible to locate a book at one library, and have it delivered to another for convenience.

    It's possible to locate the same book online and have it delivered to the door if a trip to the library is excessive.

    A pizza can be delivered after a single telephone call.

    Now it's possible to observe the opinions of people without hearing their voices, unless you choose to do so.

    It's possible to find people who agree with you in larger numbers than you thought existed.

    Even your news and selection of the arts made available can be limited to exactly what you already know that you want.

    Finally, it's possible to be comfortable with your environment at every moment.

    The world can be made more limited and convenient and comfortable and safe. All the limitations on experience that people ever wanted are there for the asking.

    And people are asking.
    Anton Philidor
    • PS

      Asimov describes this sort of dystopia. He was definitely ahead of his time.
      Anton Philidor
  • Knowledge 2.0

    People are right to compare it with previous communications shifts like th eprinting press, but it's right also to say it has that anthropoplogicla value. When people began to write their minds had to reconfigure. Memory tasks became less important because facts could be recorded. So all these shifts have a mental effect and a social effect.