perpetual beta


I was chatting with a friend today, which made me start thinking about Web2.0 stuff (yes, I do think about other things… like which multiple media thing I’m submitting to a hybrid art exhibit, can I clear off my both my real and virtual desk before vacation … anyhow, I digress!)

I sometimes think the most enthusiastic Web2.0 cheerleaders (evangelists, gurus, etc.) are mostly interested in new technologies because of the “shiny toy” syndrome. It’s consumerism to the nth degree — how much online stuff can I accumulate? how many friends? how many hits? how many unique visits? how many secret invites to secret test sites can I get? šŸ˜‰

Focusing so much on the next new thing, provides little time to reflect on the overarching changes in our society and culture, especially as relates to literacy (what is literacy these days, as we move towards a more visually centered society?), collaborative workspaces, groups vs. individuality, user generated content (the whole is greater than the sum of parts), re-purposing and mashups (digital collage!), constant evolution (perpetual beta) as well as opensource efforts (“information wants to be free”).

On the flip side of that (the naysayers) are the people reluctant to even consider embracing a new technology, even if it will make their lives easier in the long run. They refuse to adopt new technologies for a number of reasons: fear of privacy issues, fear of technology, fear of learning, fear of judgment/failure, fear of rejection, loss of control, in addition to the very real cost of resources (be it time, money, or ?)
Instead of perpetual beta, it is development at a pace that is so slow it is outdated before it is even finished.

Resource allocation is certainly a component to be dealt with and certainly, living within your means (be it an individual or a library) is important…..but what much of the rest of it comes down to is FEAR.

Because, if you’re not willing to at least CONSIDER some of the new technology (self cleaning litterbox) then you’ll never find the good technology (robot vaccum cleaner) which makes your life better, easier and maybe a little bit nicer…and isn’t that what it is all about? Technology that works for us AND with us.

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