Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cluetrain & the Semantic Web

People of the world.
A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.

So starts probably the first web site after which, in 1999, a book was written. The book, The Cluetrain Manifesto, can be read for free - click here if you're interested. It consists of 95 theses organized into a call to action for a newly organized community - the Internet (common unity or communal unity).

Now this notion of the internet may seem a a little old to us after the past 10 of 15 years but in 1999, the concepts presented therein laid forth the basis of what is now being called Web 2.0 or what will probably be remembered as the semantic web. The place the great conversation took place.

The internet, cyberspace or world-wide-web has shifted from the electronic bulletin board filled with messages to a dynamic environment rich in conversations and other unstructured transactions. The internet has become a place where people go to act, interact and transact. It is the new agora. The world is in the process of an enormous reorganization. The definition of community is being expanded to include virtual or fully abstacted and highly configurable groupings of people.

. . .In ancient Roman cities, the public market was located
on or adjacent to the forum and varied somewhat in shape.

Today, March 12, 2008, the term Web 2.0 is is wide use - more. The term Web 2.0 is credited back to Tim O'Reilly of O'Reilly Media. The term however relates more properly to the web as a place of the great semantic conversation - or semantic web.

So the web, is the place where people go to converse, but with whom? People in their own community of course. But who are these people?

First, THESE PEOPLE, though they exist in reality have been virtualized. Separated from their mortal coils. By this I mean, my web page will exist for 1000 years. I have instructed by son to instruct his progeny - and so on, to continue paying $67 per annum, or whatever the falling rate is by then, for the service which hosts my site. This will represent a relatively insignificant compounded cost for the service if managed reasonably. I've also provided Darren with approximately 450 entries which should be included into this blog at a rate of 10 per annum. This will ensure that my personal entries will be continued for at least 40 or 50 years after my death and that is assuming I don't have time to compose at least another 4 or 500 entries before I say good by. As such, I am and will continue to be, in cyberspace, a virtual persona held to my mortal thread by perhaps only a very thin thread.

So what is a virtual community? it is one that can assemble and unassemble with little or almost no energy/efforts and can then reassemble without leaving much of a trace of it's previous footprint or existence. It is science fiction in action.

The virtual community represents the next level in social organization. An agile, mobile, highly adaptable organism equipped to respond to the measure of the day. It is relevant to an unstable or rapidly changing environment because is is an assemblage of many with little or no investment in current reality. Virtual communities are ready to move on.

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