What’s The Point?

Today must be challenge the orthodoxy day on the Web. I love it.
Guest writing on Ad Age, Judy Shapiro says we can do better than to refer to advancements online as “Web 3.0.” After all, it’s the same Web it was yesterday, just with more cool shit than ever before.

…there’s a proverbial fly in this digital ointment and it is betrayed by the very name “Web 3.0.” It is paradoxical that the name, which is suited to a software release, is being used to metaphorically define a web that is meant to let us express our humanity. The irony of it all is rich.
If it were just a paradox, it would be an interesting intellectual thought experiment. But there’s more at stake here. Web 3.0 clearly tells us what is driving the next generation web — technology. I respectfully submit that if this future web is focused on technology alone, it can not succeed. What is required in equal measure to the technology is the introduction of the human element of trust. The internet is a digital society governed by the same principles as in the real world. Trust is the glue that holds societies together, and this is true of the web world, too. No doubt creating an intelligent web is cool, but without the foundation of trust Web 3.0 will be built on pillars of sand.

I would add that there are different levels of trust. There’s trust between friends (Facebook); trust between colleagues (LinkedIn); trust between bands and their fans (MySpace) and so on. There’s also trust between open and responsive companies and their customers (Zappos). Yet Shapiro’s line of thinking goes beyond these working examples. She’s saying if humanity isn’t being better served in some way by advances in communications technology, then what’s the point? Tools are wonderful, but it’s the careful, deliberate and repeated application of said tools that makes a garden grow.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.