Wowee! I’m super excited by the number of responses I’m getting on my last two posts (here and here, if you want to catch up) about making meaning out of the Web. I’ve already connected with some new people over this and am having some really interesting conversations. It’s shown me that people really DO want to start talking about these things, and that where the Web is going is just as important as where we are right now.
The one thing I did anticipate were a certain number of comments and discussions around the problems that all of this meaningful Web stuff will create. Every new idea comes with its own set of issues. The bigger the idea, the more hurdles there will be to overcome. That’s the way the Universe works.
Here are some of the issues that have been pointed out to me in the past few days (I’m paraphrasing but you can check this tweet, my two previous post comments and Social Media Today for the actual comments):
- Even if communities and industries DO share data, it’s going to be very difficult to aggregate everything we need.
- Privacy concerns and identity theft could prevent a real solution from ever taking hold.
- Could be a while before we have adoption like this across the board.
- We need to see applications based on examples before we share government data with the rest of the world.
All of these things are absolutely true and valid issues. Some of them are big problems, and many of them seem insurmountable at this time.
But – where there are problems, there are solutions.
This is the exciting part. This is where we get to experiment, explore, talk, argue, and ultimately work towards figuring this stuff out and building real tools that will really help this to happen.
The whole point here is to start to figure out how to make meaning out of the Web. How to create tools and standards that connect all of these disparate pieces of information into something that is extraordinarily useful.
This isn’t just about making it more convenient to book concert tickets. Connecting information can have planet-altering effects. What do you think the value is of linking ALL of the research in the entire world that anyone has ever done about cancer, and making it available in one place? I mean anything. Medical studies, homeopathic remedies, treatments from other cultures, even information from individuals. Tools can then be created that can intelligently go in and disseminate that information, and possibly find the magic combination that could lead to new treatments, or even a cure. This isn’t a pipe dream. People are actually working on these concepts.
Let’s talk some more. I want to hear your thoughts in the comments – and I want to find some other ways that we can keep this dialogue going.
My mind is wide open….