Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the acknowledged founder of the World Wide Web, made a blog entry on Wednesday evening which is sparking speculation, debate, and possibly some insight into the future of the Internet.
Technology oriented and other respected websites and blogs are calling it everything from Web 3.o to the Giant Global Graph, or Open Social Web.
Some of you know, I'm a bit of a dreamer. In 1998, I wrote a piece about the Internet having the potential of connecting the people of the world, bypassing governments, and possibly creating friendships and eliminating misconceptions about other societies. A friendly environment that could, potentially, promote world peace (Yes, you read that right) by creating a 'worldwide forum of understanding'.
I suppose world history would oppose this view. I argue that this is one the best chances we have to save lives and help to create a better place for our children.
I lost some interest in this vision as the web became heavily commercialized during the 1990's and 'big money' was able to capture the majority web audience. More recently, numerous social communities with tremendous potential had me looking back in retrospect.
Commercialism can be a good thing. It can promote good things, but here in the US it has polluted broadcast news. 'News for ratings' is the current sad chapter in many cases. Some of the best websites, however, are delivering real and 'unfiltered' news. This is a totally fascinating development.
There are some brilliant minds, worldwide, writing code so that we cannot only find it, but read it, discuss it, and beyond debating Top-10 rankings or search relevance, take it to the next level.
While many governments still block the Internet, the possibilities of worldwide 'people progress' remain to this day.
The spam fighting mentioned in the post is interesting as well. Hopefully, a self imposed worldwide 'police force', rather than censorship, (A very fine line) while the maintaining the integrity of Net Neutrality. Impossible? Only the future will tell. (The FOAF is mentioned in the post).
I mentioned in a recent post that I made to Google's Matt Cutts blog on the importance of the SEO and SEM community maintaining an ongoing dialog with search engines. Perhaps, I was thinking in this direction. Facts and the truth are what most people are searching for, and frankly that is exactly what should be landing in the organic top-10. My ongoing criticism of an open Wikipedia, which, in my view, has turned into an ongoing disaster, with editors overwriting facts with entires promoting personal agendas. If we continue to link to Wikipedia without some moderation, it will continue landing top-10 positions. It isn't ready yet. A great project, that deserved the press, with tremendous potential for all the same reasons mentioned above. An encyclopedia that can be changed with FACTS, as times change. Wow.
Several of the interpretations and news accounts of Sir Tim Berners-Lee's original post are already linking to Wikipedia. I have to wonder how many of those pages change before you read them.
The post also refers to the Bill of Rights for users of the Open Social Web, another dialog worth reading and debating.
I've thought many times about addressing 'my dream' in various forums. I can't think of a better time than right now. Many of the web architects are still very much around. I have to wonder what their thoughts are.
Because I don't currently have the time to moderate comments as yet on this blog, I am going to 'self-sphinn' it to Sphinn. I'm sure there will be more than a few of us doing the same thing, but more as a news story. I think it's much more. Hopefully there will be some dialog there and in other forums. It's a start, kicked off by one of the gentlemen that started it all.
I suppose it's possible, that my thoughts will be dismissed once again. There's always tomorrow.
Update : Additional link to the W3C Semantic Web page