I have always loved information archives of all types – starting with Sears catalogs as a young child, followed by our Reader’s Digest Condensed book set, then on to specially arranged privileges at the Olivia Raney Library in the basement of the Revenue Building downtown. Now the universe is at our fingertips, and I find that a whole neural body of outward connections awaits, and I have begun willy-nilly to construct this digital doppelganger – myself fully online – with little knowledge or perspective about the shape of the world to come – or the silhouette I will cast, based on my skills and choices. It won’t come naturally – I’m a bibliophilic boomer geezer, but I’m so fascinated by the gargantuan pile of possibilities being generated by our technology that I’m game, willing, and more or less already engaged.
But the levels of engagement are many and changing at a rapid rate. And my original quest for information has become entwined into an arena I still don’t fully grasp – social networking, which near as I can see, is pretty quickly turning into this whole partly global Thing – a Social Network that has unwritten rules and value systems different (and yet not) from the world of Reader’s Digest, or graduate school for that matter. I really like blogging as a way to publish writing and develop projects, and I don’t mind making friends online – though I’m always wanting to meet them in person ASAP. In many ways I am not a blogger, and certainly not a full-fledged member of the blogosphere. Again, I know I am indeed part of the blogosphere – just the literary/magazine, non-revenue, slow-blogging corner of it. I don’t twitter, fark, digg, instant message, facebook or mypage. For all I know, I never will. So what shape will my elderly online self be, as I watch the world go Web 3.0?
Web 2.0 denotes the movement of resources from your computer to the Internet. We don’t download software for blogging – we use the software on distant servers. Many people use these resources for everything from desktop publishing to large company operations. Web 3.0 signals the movement of all this to the mobile devices which are proliferating and competing, and to future non-existing IT services in general. The News and Observer tells me we will all be living and working on our phones in 2020. The TV ads proclaim it every day – the mobile revolution. This is a problem for me. Hell, I will hardly use my cell phone and I’ve had it for years. I hate the phone! I guess I will have to fall in love with some future web/Kindle device – if it projects perfectly from my eyeglasses, there’s not much room for complaint, is there?
Getting back to the messages of these media, open access and web publishing are by far the wildest things to happen in intellectual culture for a long time. Ideas can be connected and developed in truly new ways. You can follow connections instantly and sometimes rather deeply. It’s all certainly very stimulating. Below are my picks for some local trends that rock this new world.
Netweed, the host of my Paper Plant website, is operated by Clyde Smith, who has worked hard and longer on web enterprises than anyone I know. He was my blogging mentor and helped me build Raleigh Nature. Clyde mainly works online professionally at Prohiphop, and scans news reports, reviews and offers business analysis on anything and everything hip hop. Recently, he launched a news release service for hip hop labels. Netweed, his online headquarters, is a rich mix of cultural and social resources. Clyde is able to use Netweed as a unifying platform for his professional hip hop work, his research writings, his dance work, and his social views. If anyone can swim in the new web waters, it’s him.
Ibiblio is proclaimed on my favorites website (featured below) as simply “the best website of which I know.” Paul Jones has been an incredible guru for all this since Al Gore invented it, and he found a way to share with the world. Ibiblio.org is simply the state’s digital library, with some truly fascinating twists, but the monthly theme and features constitute a marvelous magazine as well.
Taintradio continues to offer a unique platform and format in the rapidly changing world of radio and music generally. There are reasons for the website looking, as a local pundit put it to me at party, “like it was put together with tinker toys.” Taintradio just ain’t having any friggin’ formats, and that goes for website software as well, gosh darn it! Hey, we all love what Bob is doing, and it will evolve a bit, I’m sure. This grand web experiment, with all volunteer world-class DJs, and one little donation jar for infrastructure, is enormously worthy of our support.
The personal web project of which I am most proud is the current incarnation of FARCE. FARCE has a been a correspondence art series, The Paper Plant bookstore’s newsletter, and now is a website reference for my own and others’ use. I use it for research, teaching, and providing curious readers sets of websites related to my blogging, such as local artists, book arts, museums and nanotechnology. I’d consider it an honor if you made my links page one of your favorites.
And have a great new year as we approach our new era! Best, John