There is a lot of talk about Web 2.0 tools and resources, but what about me? What personal changes will occur as a result of my use of Web 2.0? Will I become more social? Less afraid of joining into productive conversations with complete strangers? More willing to collaborate with people across the planet? More willing to explore and to open up my own resources, knowledge, and skills to the world?
On the negative side, will I miss out on physical connections? Will I become like the person you see in the mall walking beside their friend but talking on the cell phone instead, distracted away from the here and now and the people in their lives that are physically present? Will this technology separate me from the ones I love? Or will it connect me more? No doubt it helps me to connect and learn with others far away (proximally), but will it help me to connect in new ways with those nearby? I think perhaps that it will. I already enter into collaborative work with those close to me using Web 2.0 tools and resources. Perhaps I’m becoming more like the person you see at a party using their cell phone to text message their friend who is sitting right next to them on the couch. But is this useful? Sometimes not so much. But I think Web 2.0 tools and resources let us do things that were before much more difficult or impossible to do even with those nearby.
I think one other thing it will do to me (and is already doing to me) is to make me more thoroughly dependant on the internet for my communication, collaboration, learning, and educational needs. I presently spend 4-16 hours on the internet every day as it is (I am a Web developer), and I only foresee more time being spent (the tools and resources are becoming more pervasive in my daily life). Nearly all the television shows I watch are online. Most of my gaming needs are met online. I haven’t physically been in a library to look for educationally related materials since I began my Master’s degree a year ago (though I have probably read 5-10 thousand pages of pdfs online provided through classes and by the library). I no longer print my articles for graduate classes: I read electronic copies. I buy all of my electronics online. I meet all of my present informal learning needs online, and a large part of my formal learning needs. I’m learning several new languages online (some of them programming languages). I no longer use a radio: I listen to podcasts and streaming audio. And nearly all of the tools and resources I use every day online are Web 2.0.
So watch out for Bob 2.0! He’s smarter, faster, more connected, and a lot less tan.