I’m a little behind on this project. This entry is way overdue and I am still working on questions for more upcoming interviews. Little things like work are slowing me down a little, but truth be told I’ve been burning up a whole bunch of my cycles doing nothing but web surfing. You see part of my goal with this project is to try to get familiar with Web 2.0 tools, terminology, techniques and (gasp) culture. If I were really with-it I would call it Web-twenny like the folks at SilverOrange do. Of course I wouldn’t have known that hip little moniker if I hadn’t developed a serious jones in the last few weeks for a daily (okay hourly) fix of Digg.
It was while poking around Digg that I learned about Clouds, a way of displaying keywords as links where both the size of the font and the location on the page have signifigance i.e. a larger font on a keyword higher up on the page indicates a link that is both recent and popular. I was particularly pleased with myself when I surfed my way over to another new site TagWorld. This web-twenny site looks to be a blend of MySpace and Flickr, but why I was pleased with myself was that upon viewing the page I immediately recognized the subsection in the bottom center of the page as a cluster of Cloud links – if I hadn’t been slacking off skimming web sites I wouldn’t have understood that this wasn’t just a bit of random weirdness for the sake of some web designer’s idiosyncratic sense of style, but actually a very efficient way of organizing information for a quick digestible glance. The metaphor is like a dashboard that is also a control panel.
Now I realize that the web is lousy with Slashdotters and Diggers and MySpacers, etc. who think this stuff is old hat, but I’ve been playing around with wireless middleware and voicexml technology for the last few years and it almost feels like a whole bunch of new stuff snuck up on me while I was looking over there. That’s one of the great things about the web: you’ve got to watch it cause if you turn your back on it for a second a zillion new microcultures will spring up and subvert your expectations, or at least leave you wondering how come a million people know about this new site or that meme before you do, which is especially galling when you are the only one in your family who knows how to program the VCR.