Ladies and Gentlemen, This morning marks the official start of lunacy around "Web 3.0", as readers of the New York Times will find an article titled "Entrepreneurs See a Web Guided by Common Sense" on the front page and above the fold. This article, which dares to use freshly minted words such as "Web 3.0tellignece", should actually be titled "Web 3.shut-the-fuck-up-and-listen-to-yourselves." The world is not ready for 3.0.
What's wrong with ringing in the Web 3.0 era already? For one, in a day when no happy, living, breathing, normal person outside of Silicon Valley, Alley or Wall Street knows what the heck del.icio.us is (the baby darling of the "Web 2.0" movement), Web whatever.whatever hype-maniacs should take the hint that an important ingredient in their "movement" is missing: normal web users who will actually drive them.
The article states: "The Holy Grail for developers of the semantic Web is to build a system that can give a reasonable and complete response to a simple question..." However, relying on a semantic web presupposes that there is enough data and quality data out there. I would contend that for as much data as there is out there, there is still very small amount of data out there compared with the total amount of web users, and even less in semantic format. Why? Because when a normal person comes to a Web 2.0 web-page, most still don't know two important things:
1. What they heck they are supposed to do on the site. 2. And WHY THEY SHOULD DO IT!
Motivation and Method to contributing to the web, semantic or otherwise, have been a secret closely held by the geek community because geeks/developers/"netrepreneurs" mainly design sites with geeks (or themselves) in mind. Please excuse the lewdness, but there's no other way to describe the phenomenon: Web 2.0 or 3.0 or whatever can best be described as one big geek circle-jerk. For geeks. By geeks.
So what's my real point here? Frankly, I've been waiting for Web 3.0 buzz to get loud enough (I think a front page Sunday Times article is buzz enough) to tell the geek giants what I think the real Web 3.0 will be, and it involves some simple math these people should be able to understand:
Web 3.0 = Web 1.0 + Web 2.0 Taking out the common factor (web): 1 + 2 = 3
What's this math mean? Quite frankly, most people still only know how to use Web 1.0 sites. They are intuitive because they do not ask much of the users. The level of thought that goes into their use never leaves the level of intuition, and so the information one can extract from Web 1.0 users is usually as basic as where they click and how much time they spend on a site (all that crap in your Google Analytics account). However, most would point out that Google is an example of Web 2.0 that normal people know how to use, and that's to say that there are technologies in Web 2.0 that are really useful and fall outside the vicious cycle of the geek-on-geek circle-jerk. So, to me Web 3.0 is really the intuition, sense and ease of "1.0" mixed with the participation generating intelligence (not intelligence generating participation) of Web 2.0
And this is why I this article is called Web 3.shut-the-fuck-up-and-listen-to-yourselves. Before this Web 3.0 mayhem goes any further, developers/netrepreneurs/geeks need to take a breath and really consider who are the real web users and what are the sites and applications and UIs they can really use and really contribute to a more semantic web with. Only with the participation of normal people can this train go forward.