updates to … etc.

Facebook Affairs: widening the net, and some historical context.

For further response and discussion, see also:

• PCWorld: reasoned but rapid responses, and an impressive past history thereof. Especially this excellent article (2010-05-27), with a very useful look around blogospheric reactions

• the Electronic Frontier Foundation, especially this post

Privacy International, especially this post

• continuing coverage on BBC News online: all Facebook newsRSS feed for Facebook news items

• last but not least, the ACLU Blog of Rights: weighing in here (2010-05-26), with a well-written and nicely structured long piece, some incisive comment in the evaluations; though I don’t agree with all of it: I think some is downright wrong, and some is wrong-headed, ill-informed, misses the point, and/or could go further in analysis and implications. To be fair, the ACLU only discovered blogs and social networks fairly recently, and haven’t been a major part of the FB discussions (because, errm, the ACLU has many other things to do, some of them maybe a little more immediately important). We see eye to eye on the social and political utility of the webby revolution: ex. their very first (and perspicacious) post to mention Facebook, LOL-worthy though it might also be (we were already into the Web 3.0 era by then):

Since you’re reading this on the ACLU blog, you’re likely already aware of the growing influence of blogs, the way they can pull an otherwise overlooked story from the ether, build momentum around it, and push it into the mainstream. Blogs, and social networking sites like Facebook, Digg, Twitter and others, offer users an unprecedented opportunity to be a part of the story. As online activists, we are closer to the news and closer to the newsmakers than we have ever been before. And we’ve got all these resources, literally at our fingertips, for letting people know about important issues as they arise and ways they can get involved.

So do your part to turn traditional top-down newsmaking on its head! Stop by the “Web as a Grassroots Tool” booth at the ACLU Membership Conference and get caught up in the Web 2.0. We’ll be demonstrating just a fraction of the countless ways you can use the Web to spread the word about important civil liberties issues.

OMG ACLU LOL!” (2008-06-08)

On Web 3.0 history: as a rapid sketch seems fitting at this juncture. Or rather, that’s the direction in which I wandered off, led astray by my LOLing at the ACLU (or their readers) being so démodés, poor loves. And then of course checking before hoisting self by own petard.

More proper still: it’s a Googly-wikiish sketch. With, I hope, sufficient human-semantic filtering to be useful.

• First use seems to be by Jeffrey Zeldman, in January 2006: I’m quite convinced that this is his coinage, as like the best neologisms (trobairitz, amour courtois) it’s a throwaway quip. Here’s fuller context, as that is very revealing of precisely the issues we’re dealing with now, in the FB affair:

[…] But nothing, not even the rants of political bloggers, was as exciting as the scent of money. As the first properly valued “Web 2.0” properties began to find buyers, a frenzy like the old one popped hideously back to life. Yahoo spent how much? Google bought what? Here was real blood in the water.

But how to persuade the other sharks in the tank that this blood feast was different from the previous boom-and-bust? Easy: Dismiss everything that came before as “Web 1.0.”

It’s only castles burning

To you who are toiling over an AJAX– and Ruby-powered social software product, good luck, God bless, and have fun. Remember that 20 other people are working on the same idea. So keep it simple, and ship it before they do, and maintain your sense of humor whether you get rich or go broke. Especially if you get rich. Nothing is more unsightly than a solemn multi-millionaire.

To you who feel like failures because you spent last year honing your web skills and serving clients, or running a business, or perhaps publishing content, you are special and lovely, so hold that pretty head high, and never let them see the tears.

As for me, I’m cutting out the middleman and jumping right to Web 3.0. Why wait?

Web 3.0,” on A List Apart (2006-01-16)

• backtracking … as this is an idea in the air well before then … Tim Berners-Lee, on Web 3.0 as part of the Semantic Web: “A More Revolutionary Web,” in The New York Times, (2006-05-23); on the SW, see Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler and Ora Lassila, “The Semantic Web,” Scientific American Magazine (2001-05-17). And much else TBLian besides.

• Nigel Shadbolt, Wendy Hall, Tim Berners-Lee. “The Semantic Web Revisited”IEEE Intelligent Systems (2006-05).

• John Smart et al, “Metaverse Roadmap: Pathways to the 3D Web. A Cross-Industry Public Foresight Project” (2006/2007).

• John Markoff, “Entrepreneurs See a Web Guided by Common Sense“, in The New York Times (2006-11-12). Discussion at assorted conferences, including at least one major one in November 2006; the Markoff article gains immediate prominence, coming as it does from the NYT–the most serious mainstream source with the greatest readership to enter into the fray, and the first (THBOMK) to do so–and stays there through subsequent citation

• Tim Berners-Lee, The Future of the Web. Testimony before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet (2007-03-01)

• Andrew Keen, “Web 1.0 + Web 2.0 = Web 3.0,” on The Great Seduction blog (2008-04-25)

Next: the Symbiotic Web a.k.a Symbionet? This kind of history-by-search is a good test of a system, to see if it passes the Turing test: and A.I. does seem to be involved here. What to do about the ecosystem side, I don’t know: continue to hope for the best, with social networking and the meta-networking of meta-data; the more relational aspect may prevail over the commercial one. But golly gosh, the political implications are heavy, as we’re right back to square one: how to transcend those banal and simplistic dichotomies–capitalism/commun(itarian)ism, centralised conrol/liberty, dialectical modes of thinking/Other. As with 3.0, Google search on 4.0 revealed a significant quantity of copying, embedding, and other derivative-but-not-creative activities (as per usual); but with rather more forwarding, sharing, and syndication. So, still very Web 2.0.

Joël de Rosnay:  “aujourd’hui, on va sur internet; demain, on n’ira plus sur internet: on sera dans internet … écosystème informationnel… le web symbiotique.” From “Les Quatre web,” MEDEF (2008-01-29). See also:

2020: Les Scénarios du futur (2007); book-adaptation of five talks from 2006…when, you will recall, we’d just seen the first conference on Web 2.0 at/through/right after which Web 3.0 arose

talks at the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie from 2008

“Qu’est ce que le Symbionet” TEDx Paris sur le Web 5.0 et le futur d’Internet 2030 (2010-01-30)

• Cedric Pariente, “Web 3.0 and 4.0,” Finextra (2009-06-29). High frequency of online citation, including More Reputable Sources, and one of the earliest pieces on 4.0. Being Parisian brings him somewhat closed to the horse’s mouth, vide supra.

• Hemnath claims that “Web 3.0 + artificial intelligence = Web 4.0 technology,” in “Web 4.0…,” Website Quality (2010-01-08); not a heady claim, and even moving away from Rosnay’s symbionet and (to my view) back to an intelligent semantic web???  Pariente’s post still provides the handiest short guide (and still connected to Rosnay) at present, including some of the amusing comments:

Medievals and Medievalists are fortunate to live and breathe in an allusive and allegorical sort of way. Well, that’s neither entirely true not entirely fair: we live in closer contact with metaphor, perhaps (but then, so do many others); perhaps through a different existential relation to fiction (so-called, in quotes, etc.). At any rate, and to cut a long story short on the meaning of life as a Medievalist: I shall end on the ecological note, from “Overfishing Goes Back Centuries, Log Books Reveal” (Cool Science News, from exactly a year ago today):

→ 1: on Facebook
→ 2: updates on Facebook


  1. Thanks! Have just voted and commented:

    Thanks for telling me about the campaign–I voted for Ada Lovelace (of course! I’m a bloody woman, what do you expect). I’d also been keeping up with the Alan Turing campaign and Ada Lovelace day, and hope you’re all joining forces in keeping the history of computing alive. With thanks to my late uncle (John Buxton, one of the BCL’s own) for getting me interested in such things, and indeed computing itself. Onwards and upwards in the good fight against ignorance and for the forces of knowledge. Yours etc., a medievalist.

    Other readers of MMM: click on this BCS link to go their site and vote …

  2. Fantastic! Poor Ada is currently in last place though, not sure what’s going on with that! 😦

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