Sunday, November 9, 2008

Talking about web 2.0, in theory only!

I've given two talks recently about Web 2.0 features without Internet access in the venue. In other words, let's talk about the interactivity that is so powerful right now by using screen shots and downloaded videos. Weird.

What bothers me most though, is that the talks pretty much went fine. Of course, it was a pain to get all the videos downloaded (thank you DownloadHelper and Applian!). The thing is though, that the very nature of networking is participatory, not voyeuristic. So, watching a video about a flash mob, while entertaining, is not at all the same thing as participating in a flash mob (caveat--I haven't).

It's kind of like watching Paula Deen make Thanksgiving Dinner on Food TV--fun, but you don't get to eat anything!

So, I've decided that while I might still give a talk or two, I'm really going to focus on hands-on opportunities to draw folks in. I truly believe that parents and educators have to participate in virtual communities in some way (not all) in order to guide and help the children in our care. I'm a little astonished at the number of people who raised their hands during one talk when I asked how many people agreed with the statement "you should never use your real name on the Internet." As someone who blogs, tweets, comments, and Nings as "herself" I find this fear worrying. It's also a disconnect.

Maybe I am the one who is disconnected? Am I too open and optimistic? Should adults be obscuring their identities when communicating professionally with others in their field?


avi said...

Once upon a time lived an emperor who spent all his money on the latest web technology. He did not care about the cost, or if the technology was easy to use; the only thing, he thought of was it had to be known as the latest and as one would say of a king “He is in his cabinet,” so one could say of him, “The emperor is updating his home Page!”
One day two swindlers came to his city; they made people believe they could manufacture the finest web technology that can be imagined. They called it the Web 2.0! They said it had the wonderful quality of being invisible to any man who was unfit for his office or unpardonably stupid.
“That must be a wonderful technology,” thought the emperor. “If I were to own web 2.0 I should be able to find out which men in my empire were unfit for their places. And he gave a large sum of money to the swindlers, in advance, that they should set to work without any loss of time. They set up two work stations, and pretended to be very hard at work, but they did nothing whatsoever.
“I should very much like to know how they are getting on” thought the emperor. Personally, he was of opinion that he had nothing to fear, yet he thought it advisable to send somebody else first to see how matters stood.
“I shall send my honest old minister to the developers,” thought the emperor. “He can judge best how it looks, for he is intelligent, and nobody understands his office better than he.”
The good old minister went into the room where the swindlers sat before the empty desktops. “Heaven preserve us!” he thought, and opened his eyes wide, “I cannot see anything at all,” but he did not say so. Both swindlers asked him if he did not admire the exquisite Web 2.0 Platform and the beautiful Community Applications. The minister tried, but he could not see anything. “Oh dear,” he thought, “Can I be so stupid? No, I cannot say that I was unable to see the new technology.”
“Now, have you got nothing to say?” said one of the swindlers, while he pretended to be busily coding.
“Oh, it is exceedingly beautiful,” replied the old minister looking through his glasses. “What brilliant technology! I shall tell the emperor that I like it very much.” And so he did.
Everybody in the whole town talked about the precious technology. At last the emperor wished to see it himself, while it was still on the ‘testing phase’. He went to the two swindlers. “Is it not magnificent?” said one of the statesmen who had been there before. “Your Majesty must admire the new Web 2.0!” And then they pointed to the empty webpage.
“What is this?” thought the emperor, “I do not see anything at all. That is terrible! Am I unfit to be emperor?”
“Really,” he said, turning to the developers, “Your technology has our most gracious approval.” All his attendants looked, and though they could not see anything, they said “It is very beautiful.”
And all advised him to put up the new website on his homepage at a great procession.
The previous night on which the procession was to take place, the swindlers pretended to work about in the air, and said at last: “The emperor’s new website using Web 2.0 is ready now.”
The emperor deleted his old website, and the swindlers pretended to put the new site on.
“I am ready,” said the emperor. “Does not my website look marvelous?” Then he turned once more to look at the website, that people should think he admired the new Web 2.0 technology.
The emperor marched in the procession and all who saw him exclaimed: “Indeed, the emperor’s new website is incomparable!”
“But I don’t see anything on the screen! The screen is just a blank page!” said a little child. “Good heavens! Listen to the voice of an innocent child,” said the father, and one whispered to the other what the child had said. “But there is nothing on the screen,” cried the whole people. That made a deep impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought to himself, “Now I must bear up to the end.”

Katie said...

Hi it's Katie. I'm the one that wrote the letter. I saw your comment on my teacher's blog. ( absolutely can quote me in your teacher talks. Thank you for wanting to quote me.

Sarah Hanawald said...

Thanks Katie! I think our teachers will be very interested in hearing about your ideas!