Four forecasted transitions from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 appear likely to make online collaborations more fruitful, easy and rewarding.
1. Getting to know you: Recent successes with mobile content delivery and subscriptions to feed readers suggests that content on the web will be transformed. Perhaps there will be no more web sites -- only databases of XML that can be searched and read anywhere. Advances with Google Desktop searches and caches of all text, tagged media, PDF and HTML on PC hard drives offers the possibility of that content will continue to be produced in a variety of formats, but accessed uniformly. In either case, it will be easier to learn quickly about a new collaborator by searching for his/her previous digital explorations and creations. Out of this, mutual trust, respect, and better questions will emerge faster.
2. Working harmoniously: Advances in software development toward dashboards and widgets offer another benefit to collaborations. The goal is to put the user's workflow front and center, and line up the numerous applications in service of that process. This is a similar transition to the redesign of formal instruction to be learner centered. Some predict there will be no more discrete software programs to open and close. All functionality will be as accessible as the pull-down menu items within current software packages. As this becomes realized. the workflow of an online collaboration will be supported and enhanced as well.
3. Walk with me - talk with me: Real time conversations via phone, Skype and chat give collaborators a deeper sense of engagement and empathy than asynchronous communication like blogs and email. The democratization of world and game building tools by Second Life and Metaverse suggest that collaborations in Web 3.0 will be between avatars. The benefits of synchronous communication will expand to include a sense of companionship. The feeling of walking together, exploring as a team and taking time outs from movement - could all heighten the emotional dimensions of the collaboration.
4. It's only a movie: The extensive piracy of digital content suggests that future collaborations will become less concerned with producing products together. The explosion of desktop audio and video production also changes the inclinations of many consumers. The experiences of collaboration will lend themselves to being shared as interviews, films and stories. The sense of "an unfolding narrative in working together" will lend itself to public disclosures of plot, tensions and character arcs. It's likely there will be a shift from "what we came up with" to "how we are working together".
Web 3.0 is a moving target that will no doubt change as we get closer to it. In the meantime, it helps identify trends in the more immediate changes and ways we may benefit from those developments.
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