Two Faces of Beth

I’ve been mulling something over in my mind the last few days.  Am I a hypocrite?

I am a big supporter/lover of Web 2.0.  Part of me loves the fact that the average Joe can contribute to the content of the web.  You no longer have to have a degree in computer science or have spent years learning code to be able to add your mark to the world wide web.  I love to see people contribute to the web via word, photo, video or code.  I’ve hopefully influenced many people where I work (both internally and externally) to become a part of their web – to participate or contribute in some small way.

So why the feeling of being hypocritical?  Two reasons – wikis and sites that allow people to create websites without teaching them to properly code or design.  Since both wikis and sites that help the average Joe create their piece of the web are definitely Web 2.0 you can see my dilemma.  Although I can appreciate that both technologies give the ordinary non-geek type a way to express themselves I feel they do a bit of harm in the long run.  They don’t teach people the backbone behind the pretty pages they see on the web (proper coding).  They also don’t teach people that loading a site full of information without giving proper navigation and thought to function (usability) is a disservice.  The worst part is they don’t teach people to be web standards compliant.  They allow people to add information, color, pictures, videos, links, widgets, etc. but fail to teach them basic rules that if followed will make their wiki or site be accessible by anyone on any operating system in any browser.

Perhaps the next Web 2.0 application can somehow allow people to contribute to the web but teach them proper design and coding in the process.  If so, that will be a technology I can get behind.  I’m afraid as much as I love Web 2.0 I can’t support wikis or sites that allow you to create a web page or whole site without teaching you what works and doesn’t on the web these days.

So call me a hypocrite.

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One Response to Two Faces of Beth

  1. Amy says:

    No not a hypocrite — but you are addressing something that has happened with computers since we started using them. The folks who build them and manage them (IT-ers) are usually not strong on supporting (from the basic educator point of view.) I remember way back when an IT person was asked to run a training on the shortcuts (such as ctrl+c to cut) and he exploded… he felt it was not his role to train — only to make sure ctrl+c worked. So, someone has to fill that gap – hence in my opinion the role for Knowledge Management — but with a recession possibly coming — that is likely an area to cut? so we remain hosed.

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