I had hoped my first blog entry would be generated Thursday evening, but I was slow in getting this weblog rolling.
David Weinberger spoke about Why the Web Matters at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. The occaision was the last of AKMA's monthly series on technology that have hosted an array of people this year.
David's discussion ranged for about an hour, and the audience peppered him with their own thoughts or leading questions. I ended up getttig a little lost when the conversation wandered into Heidegarian thinking or the recent discussions of the Episcopalian scholars in the room. Discussions of knowledge - particularly "where is knowledge" are right up my alley at work.
I have taken the half-step into a definition by simply saying that knowledge is the stuff that we need to make our organization run. David suggests that knowledge has become so abstract - or that we have become dissociated from it - that we don't know how to value the knowledge contained in academic texts or scholarly journals.
David then suggested that the web is important because it has created (is creating?) a community of people who learn to trust one another's ideas and opinions quickly. Or maybe not even so much trust as believe that the ideas expressed are those of the writer, instead of the typically overly-sanitized writing of the corporate world. And since there are so many voices available on Topic X, I can be fairly sure to get a decent coverage of what people like me think and the ideas of people not at all like me. David stressed the value of multiple subjectivity as opposed to the myth of objectivity claimed by the traditional media outlets. The result - knowledge is being linked to things that people care about on the web. The gal who knows everything about her niche of rock-n-roll can now tell everyone about it. The guy who obsesses about Mini Coopers can obsess with hundreds of others just like him.
Another aspect of the importance is that the web has expanded David's, and everyone's, world of potential friends from his classmates and workmates to 1000's of people on whom he could call with a question or for help on any given topic. The beauty is that we don't even have to continue the conversation beyond, "what are the best options on the Mini Cooper?" if we choose.
It appeared that several people were live blogging the event as AKMA has encouraged his students to blog for a variety of reasons I assume he has discussed in the past. There were also a few other Chicago-area bloggers present, though I haven't learnt their names.