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

Beam me up John Chambers

This is one of the things that reminds me of how much Star Trek and Star Wars have informed my technological dreams.

Here, in late 2007, Cisco demonstrates an “On-Stage TelePresence Holographic Video Conference“. It’s billed as the “World’s first Live Holographic Video Feed from California, USA to Bangalore, India”. Cisco CEO John Chambers, was on the stage in Bangalore and ‘beamed up’ Martin De Beer, the Senior Vice President of emerging Technologies, and Chuck Stucki the General Manager of TelePresence, live from San Jose, California.

This is the beginning of the next generation of unified communications and telepresence. W00t! No more long haul flights from Australia to other far away places.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

Coming out from the walled garden – Globe and Mail

In really interesting move the Canadian news site Globe and Mail have just opened up their site for free. No more walled garden!

As they put it “the locks are off” and “every Globe columnist, daily horoscopes, crosswords, Sudoku puzzles and a suite of news-tracking tools are now free. Margaret Wente, Christie Blatchford, Jeffrey Simpson and the rest of The Globe’s best-known columnists can join the fray and add their talented voices to the freewheeling conversations of the Internet era.” (my italics)

Simultaneously they appear to have launched a new premium paid service called Globe Plus that gives access to more detailed information.

I suspect that this is a beginning of a trend towards opening up of basic services for free and paid premium services. After all, it seemed to work for Flickr.

[Hat tip: Matthew Ingram]

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire