Friday, February 29, 2008

Ruminating on the Exploratory Nature of Web 2.0 Practitioners

Jake Kuramoto has returned to the theme of "the Scoble Effect," which has caused me to ruminate about some things that I've noticed in the Web 2.0 community.

One big thing that I've noticed in some sectors of the Web 2.0 community is a willingness to explore. You see a lot of people in the community who are willing to try out new (and not-so-new) things. Count how many posts you've read over the last few months about things such as these:

  • Hey, look at these Mimobots!

  • Hey, let's try Google Reader shared feeds!

  • Hey, look at this new Kindle!

  • Hey, I just ordered my Chumby!
And yes, I captured the thoughts accurately, noting that they always say "Hey" before talking about the latest gizmo. And yes, all of the flitting about reminds me of the Athenians that Paul encountered in Acts, but exploration is good for the soul or so they say.

But the more technically talented of these people don't just try out new stuff - they also make new stuff. And yes, the stuff is kinda silly at times. Two examples come to mind: Club140, which captures Twitter tweets that are exactly 140 characters long, and Atlocals, which captures selected Twitter tweets and categorizes them based upon the location that is set in your Twitter profile. (And, of course, I have to remember that many people consider Twitter itself to be a pretty silly service.)

And yes, one can claim that all of this stuff is a waste of time. Heck, the Athenians weren't really accomplishing a lot in the first century AD. But on the other hand, these "silly" advances often suggest ideas that can be applied as solutions to either personal or business problems. Many people, including myself, have talked ad nauseum about how the silly Twitter service can provide useful information during fires, earthquakes, business conferences, and other events. Who knows what valuable advances could be made by someone who was playing around with Club140?

It all boils down to passion. In my case, I write about things because they interest me. Other people are motivated by other things, such as fancy gym bags. In fact, there's a blog entitled Passion, People, and Principles. And people who are engaged are...well, they're engaged. (I'm slowly becoming my Mayor Shinn character. Or perhaps I got selected for Mayor Shinn...again...because I'm me. I suspect the latter.)

So Robert, if you ever develop a mad interest in Oracle technology, give Jake Kuramoto a call. He has a beta site he wants you to try out.

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