4 June 2008

The power of hypertext & hyperconnection - the semantic web we are weaving

I had seen this clip on YouTube ages ago but recent thinking made it relevant again when a friend shared it on Facebook. As discussed recently we unleashed tremendous power with hypertext and enabled hyperconnection.

But this clip reminds me that we also changed the nature of information and how we can use it. Web 2.0 has moved us beyond the hierarchical view of early web days (as in the old directories like Yahoo!). Now we can use non-hierarchical techniques to connect up previously unconnected data and add meaning to it, thus turning it into new kinds of information.

Think about how we create meaning for a moment. We take a piece of data, add some more pieces of data and connect them to together somehow to create information. The connections that are made create new meaning out of the old meanings inherent in the individual pieces of data.

The creative act of making connections is empowered by the internet and thus we are able to connect over vast distance. And the distances that we can now connect over are not merely geographic. They are power distances, social distances - for the web is crashing hierarchies.

For example, I now routinely connect to people who were once inaccessible to me by virtue of their: (a) geographic location, i.e. far away from Australia; (b) power distance, i.e. their importance in the world; (c) social distance. We share ideas or memes and thus create new meaning for each other. Interesting times indeed ...

Hat tip: Hans De Kraker

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

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