Friday, October 31, 2008

Web 3.0 in the Era of Pledging

Are you ready to be tracked, monitored, and followed? Every step of the way? Well, you better get ready. That's what Web 3.0 technology will be about I predict. That's where we're going, and that's where we'll be. But is PledgeBank a Web 3.0 service?

PledgeBank is a service that helps people get things done, especially things that require several people. How does it do this? Heather Cronk argues in Pushing Towards Web 3.0 Organizing Tools that is a Web 3.0 tool. Couldn't be farther from the truth. If it looks like a Web 2.0, smells like Web 2.0, and quacks like Web 2.0 . . . then it's likely Web 2.0. Which is exactly what is. No matter how many ways you analyze it and dissect the features, it's simply an aggregated social networking engine. Perhaps not even that.

PledgeBank allows users to set up pledges and then encourages other people to sign up to them. A pledge is a statement of the form 'I will do something, if a certain number of people will help me do it'. The creator of the pledge then publicises their pledge and encourages people to sign up. Two outcomes are possible – either the pledge fails to get enough subscribers before it expires (in which case, we contact everyone and tell them 'better luck next time'), or, the better possibility, the pledge attracts enough people that they are all sent a message saying 'Well done—now get going!'

That's not Web 3.0. That's simply wishful thinking. Web 3.0 is about third generation web computing. It's about the webtop. It's about digital outreach in its purest form. It's about the ability to have the intelligent web at your hands, having your settings uniquely tailored to you. It's beyond the Web and into our daily lives. Something that PledgeBank simply is not. So . . . back to the drawing board . . .

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