Distinguishing Web 3.0, Semantic web and Data Linking

I had commented some time ago on the differences/ advances between web 1.0, web 2.0 and web 3.0.

Earlier this month Greg Boutin published an excellent series of three postings in which he has looked at web 3,0, semantinc web and data linking in consdierable detail – in an attempt to ensure that we have a common understanding (ie get the semantics right).  His postings alos cross reference to some of his own previous postings and an excellent TED talk by Kevin Kelly.

Kelly talks about the interent becoming the ‘One’ computer – and therefore topics such as ubiquity, transparency, personalisation and globalisation.  It is a fascinating look into the future – and challenges us all to think about how we would interact with this large ‘organism’ or system.

Boutin is also very much up for the challenge and the opportunity.  However he is relatively cautious in his assessment of the situation in his third posting.  While not doubting Berners Lee, he does seem to suggest that the hype may be a little ahead of the reality – as evidenced by the lack of commercial applications exploiting linked data (there being a shortage of linked data).

Social networking – is it what always came naturally to the Irish?

I participate actively as an online ‘social networker’.  Seems to me there are many benefits – through linkedin, facebook, twitter, blogging.

Interesting piece recently about whether we should blend the personal and the business stuff in social networking activities.  There are many reasons to do so – the technology increasingly means people are available to work at anytime from anywhere (good and bad!).  Part of being successful in business is building and developing relationships – seems to be some logic to revealing some of the personal stuff.

The web based networks facilitate a level of networking simply not possible without.  And yet seems that much of the most effective networking continues to be face to face – or, face to many face.  As someone described it to me recently there is that hour in the pub when people seem relaxed, in a heightened state of awareness and the antennae are up for networking.  Depending on how long is spent imbibing the quality of the networking may subsequently drop off.

And some people are just more comfortable networking…’the gift of the gab’ as we sometimes describe it.

So long as we see social networking as another channel, another way of networking I think we won’t go wrong.  But when people start to substitute wikis, facebook, etc for actual face to face encounters…then they risk losing the plot.

RSI and the Cloud

Have been struggling myself for the last number of weeks with onset of Repetitive Strain Injuries (associated with prolonged use of keyboards).  I see Karlin Lillington writing on the subject in today’s Irish Times – I can identify with her actual experience.

I have experimented with a number of steps in my office environment to address the issue – in terms of monitor, mouse, keyboard, height of screen.  And this has made a difference. However I almost need to take my office environment with me!  The benefit of the cloud to me has been that I can keep whatever I am working on somewhere in the cloud.  Therefore I can work from anywhere so long as I have internet access.  This includes using my own laptop, other PCs at home or at client sites, using a mobile device on public transport (to check mail), etc.

Obviously  not practical to bring the perfect ergonomic environment with me.  But what I must do – and try to do – is to think sensibly about the type of activity I am happy to engage in – given the particular ergonomic environment.  It’s a matter of common sense – avoid the heavy duty lifting when you don’t have the right equipment.

twitter v. google for (re)search

Where would we be without google (search)?  It has opened up a world of information for all of us.   But what now as twitter gets a real foothold.  It feels a little like the difference between listening to an hourly nes bulletin and reading a daily newspaper.  Perhaps with Google I can find the more comprehensive and more considered answer.  But with twitter I feel like I ma getting the current answer – like a news alert.

Interesting times.  Particularly becasue the nature of search/ research is changing – as web 3.0/ semantic web emerges.  Google, as expected, has been quick to look to leverage more effective ways of searching/ indexing data.  But these techniques are also availabel to twitter.

Moving on from traditional thinking

I guess it’s challenging for all of us who have worked for the last 25 years.  In my final year in Trinity College Dublin I was writing Assembler for the Motorola 68000 chip.  The Mac was about to burst on the scene.  Since then I have worked in a Professional Service Firm, my own IT consulting business and with a number of start up businesses.

Many of us have come to think of the business entity as the key business unit – be it a company, a group of companies, a sole trader, a partnership.  And businesses do business with other businesses – ordering, buying, selling, etc.  And each business operates to a set of standards – standards to meet their own expectations and those of their customers.  Many of the standards are driven, underpinned or enforced by external agencies e.g. State, Professional bodies, Insurerers, regulators.

The web has had all sorts of impacts on business – the emergence of online B2B abd B2C, major reengineering of processes and business themselves, globalisation on a par not expected.

And now the web is throwing new opportunities and challenges at all of us.  In fact one can only wonder if we had had this web 10 years ago what types of businesses would have been built over the last 10 years?  Which businesses would never have existed?

Even back in 1984 in TCD we were collaborating – as we worked in a group of three students to design our basic computer.  We also collaborated on the cricket field as we set traps for opposition batsmen.  And we collaborated in preparing for exams – through sharing of lecture notes, etc.

But what we are witnessing now is a series of developments – Social networking, Semantic web, the cloud – which when combined mean that those who do not collaborate risk being eliminated.  We have often discussed the importance of knowledge management within the organisation – even between partner organisations.  However the tools beginning to emerge now promise to facilitate collaboration and knowledge management on a scale previously unimagined – right across the globe, the web and time.  ultimately traditional business practices and structures must be transformed to enable society to benefit from what’s beginning to happen.

We do want newspapers

I’ve been asking people why they like their newspaper:

  • I know the journalists – I follow their arguments.  I know their bias.
  • I can identify with the views offered
  • I like the weekend section – I read over the following week
  • I like the feel of the newspaper
  • I get a local perspective on international affairs
  • They call it as they see it

Lots of good reasons.

But the pressure continues for the industry.  I have commented previously on the impact of the web on newspapers – that they are too slow to be ‘news’.   However I would say, as a regular user of public transport, the smart phone/ blackberry/ ipod – have also hit them hard.  There was a time you wanted a paper hopping on a bus or tram.  Now you have full radio availability from your mobile phone.

Interesting piece by Howard Kurtz in today’s Washington Post. He references his frustration that the newspapers may have missed the boat, missed the opportunity to use the web intelligently to improve their offering, rather than kill it.

But going forward – what about the F generation (ie the facebook generation).  Will they ever look to newspapers the way we (the baby boomers) have seen them – informing us, setting much of the agenda, source of entertainment?  I don’t think so.

Will the missing advertising revenues ever return?  Many of the newspapers have reengineering their processes, have removed lots of costs, have invested significantly in their web presence, have used the web to assist in producing their papers.

Tend to agree with Mr Kurtz.  There is no one model.  There will be opportunities – because of the reasons people like newspapers.  But organisations will need to be nimble, flexible and continue to evolve their models.  as I have said before quality journalism must have a future – society needs it.  But how it will be organisaed and how people will profit from it…to be worked out.

Thoughtful piece on social networking and facebook

Interesting piece from Fiona McCann in today’s Irish Times, ”on facebook“.

Would agree fully that Facebook has changed (and devalued) meaning of friends.   Much of what Fiona says rings true with me – as someone who spends a fair amount of time blogging, twittering and updating facebook.  Her comments would also be well received by many of those who are actually my friends.

Many of us set out  to use FaceBook for the personal stuff, sites such as linkedin for the business networking, with twitter and our blogs potentially reaching across both.  However, even within this, there is inevitable overlap between personal and business.  And Facebook wants the business stuff anyway!

Many people also waster a great deal of time working to update their various sites/ presences – with material which is of very little interest and/ or benefit to themselves or the reader.  There was a an excellent piece recently by Dion Hinchcliffe 12 Rules For Bringing ‘Social’ To Your Business.

I think one of the other interesting areas in all of this is bringing the various islands of social networks together.  Much of this is being pioneered out of DERI in Galway.  Projects such as SIOC spring to mind.
Comments certainly make a lot of sense.  As of now do not have all the answers.