Joshua M. Neff, who I first encountered on the web when Jessamyn West called him a ‘carping nerdboy’ in the comments on one of Meredith Farkas’ blog posts (come on, you have to go check out the blog of someone who’s just been called a carping nerdboy), and who I’m psyched to get to meet in-the-real at Internet Librarian, has posted an excellent summation of why naming the ‘ages’ of the internet is both intensely speculative and ultimately pointless: We’re all writing fiction when we predict the future. We should know that by now. That said, he’s writing some great fiction:
Web 7.0: the Broken Web. A plague of solar flares disrupts all electronic information-communication systems on the planet, leading to huge crashes in the strands of the World Wide Web. Informational ecosystems become isolated and inbred. Meanwhile, solar flares and massive climate change lead to startling mutations in flesh-based life.
Aside from the humor, the comments include a succinct (if grumbly) definition of the Semantic Web from Walt Crawford, which might help out all of us, who, like Josh, have wondered what the heck that’s supposed to be.
All of this — encountering someone through funny comments on a thoughtful blog post, laughing over the aptness of other posts, learning more concrete information from the comments of a post than from the post itself — this is why I love the communication streams that librarians have created online. My professional world is so much richer, now, and in such utterly unpredictable ways.