Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the Web

In just over 5 minutes, TimBL sons this dude something hard for not knowing what Net Neutrality is (an interviewer should at least understand the topic they’re asking questions about), then he goes on to mock the interviewers blatantly biased follow up question.

Finally, TimBL articulates what’s so magical and fascinating (on a scientific level) about the Web and how to most it’s just seen as a toy or a form of entertainment – but really, there’s something brilliant and technologically out of our grasp about the Web (it is where technology meets a truly democratic and free, open society). And it may take another 25 years for us to truly come to understand that social dynamic that TimBL stumbled upon while trying to improve scientific research in Physics. His original vision for the Web is, in essence, what Wikipedia is today – a wealth of free knowledge and open to all to contribute and improve upon.

(There’s so much I want to say about this video by PBS – from the incorrect naming of the video to the obvious misunderstanding of the very subject they’re interviewing TimBL about, but I won’t waste the time. Instead, I’d like to focus on the latter portion of the interview snippet.)

As companies like Apple slowly try to recreate TimBL’s invention of the Web and patent it and control it through their apps ecosystem on their iOS walled garden, I look up to great minds like Tim Berners-Lee for inspiration of how I want to be remembered. And while I admire what great tech companies like Google and Facebook are accomplishing for the Web – at the very grand scale I can’t help but feel distrust from their use of social engineering tricks.

The First Web ServerI fell in love with the concept of the Web as it was presented to me just a few years after Tim Berners-Lee invented it. I’m married to the idea of free information, free knowledge, and an open network that is a wealth of a resource for anyone interested in learning about anything (the Wikipedia model).

Over the last few years working full-time as a Web Dev I’ve grown leaps and bounds in my craft, but as I look back on what originally attracted me to learn what it is that I do – I realize it’s not about likes or shares or subscriptions or followers. Social Media has changed the landscape greatly, but I can’t help but view social media the way Apple views the Web (as something that was created long after I showed up at the party and I secretly want to recreate).

But to get back to TimBL’s awesome point about studying what the Web is – not on a technological level like most Web Developers do (on how to create cool gadgets, sites, apps, etc.) but on a social and societal level. This kind of thinking is what helped lead to Twitter and other great and open Web companies.

My hopes are that Net Neutrality gets figured out for the betterment of the Internet and a free society (not one you have to pay extra for access to certain sites by the ISPs), and finally that over the next 25 years we embrace the connectivity the Web brings us and we become a more close and scientifically literate world.

Here’s to the next 25 years of the Web (and to many more)!

Navigation Drawer – Google Dev Web Fundamentals

Google Developers Web Fundamentals
Navigation Drawer

Navigation Drawer - Google Dev Web Fundamentals

My new Web dweeb obsession is the Navigation Drawer as defined in Google’s Web Fundamentals.

First made popular by the mobile version of Facebook (with it’s roots found in Google Chrome’s tool icon theft of Apple’s iOS playlist reorder icon), now it can be found on every popular site and I predict will become as commonplace as the header and footer to site design (there’s a reason Google includes it in it’s Web fundamentals).

Popular sites have even begun to include it into desktop version site design – YouTube is one example.

I myself have been studying how the functionality works in jQuery and have many prototypes (here’s my latest: http://ejgh.co), but I will now begin to adopt Google’s standard to simplify things going forward.

Here’s an example of that:

https://google-developers.appspot.com/web/fundamentals/resources/samples/layouts/navigation-patterns/appbar-navdrawer-sample1

My hopes are now with this standardization by Google others will more heavily adopt and it will become more standard in WordPress development.

How I Feel About the Web

The fact that I can keep in touch with old elementary schoolmates I haven’t known since I was a little freckle face boy shooting hoops at Oakview during recess. Classmates that I never really got to know at the time, but who grew to become awesome and inspiring people. And it’s because of the Web that I get to know that now.

Like perpetual motion: a never ending passion for programming. How most people feel about faith (I don’t care if I never get there, I’ll never stop believing that I can). And maybe it’s the fantasy of success that keeps me driven to pursue it.

Even if I end up spending 90% of my life trying to do it and failing. Even if I only get to do it for 1 year and then I can’t anymore, it’ll always be that puzzle I get a thrill out of piecing together and picking apart again and again.

It’s not necessarily the ends, but rather the means that justify this dream.

It’s a journey that keeps my cup full and my wants on low. And smiles plentiful.

Whatever makes you happy.

generation-like-pbs
Watch: Generation Like (on PBS Frontline)

I think about this all of the time. My future and what I do for a living is sort of dependent upon it.

It is the commercialization (or, consumerization, if you will) of actions or sentiment from users on a Web site – to “like” something, to “share” something, to “follow” someone, to “check-in” somewhere.

They call it social currency. I see it more as identifying actions you wish someone to take on your Web site. Before social media, there was a lot more grey area as far as what a person was doing while they were on your site. With social signals such as a “like” button, or a “follow” button, we can easily identify the person’s interest when they interact with our sites now.

What intrigues me the most is in how it effects and changes the user experience of a Web site or application for the end user – in this case, author Doug Rushkoff explores the marketing and branding of big corporations through social media and how it impacts young people.

Social Currency & other Web musings

Social Currency

As a people, Social Media has permanently changed our behavior patterns. Used effectively, a social site forces us to publically identify who we are, which creates a positive consequence – we take ourselves much more seriously. In a social Web, I think we’re better at recognizing change and adapting to it (no matter how difficult it may be), because we’re now more connected than ever.

At the rate which technology changes our Information Age, we are forced to acquire a greater sense of social progress and, as result, we tend to become a much more forward thinking tribe of people. I don’t think this is temporary. I think it’s only going to increase.

In a future society where almost everyone holds in the palm of their hand the ability to contact just about anyone they want if they are crafty enough, no one is limited but for the sake of their own imagination.

But here’s the kicker. It’s through our imagination that we push progress forward.

This is the Social Currency.

The new currency will be found in the tribes we create for ourselves. Because there will be so much data in the near future, what’s most important will not be in who has the most, but rather in what the numbers amount to.

It’s not about how many friends you have on your AOL buddies list, how many followers you have on Twitter, how many likes you have on Facebook, or how often you check into a location on Foursquare, etc.

It’s about exactly who is on your buddy list, who is retweeting you, and exactly who is liking your Facebook status.

In a much more Social Web, it’s important now more than ever to listen to exactly who your audience is. Who are they? What matters most to them?

As of 2012, there are over 400 million tweets per day, over 2 billion likes/comments on Facebook per day, over 1 hour of videos uploaded to YouTube per second, over 38 thousand posts per hour on Tumblr, and as the number of niche social sites grow, so too will the amount of activity increase as the rest of the world comes online with time.

Amidst all of that data that keeps growing and growing, listen closely for the right signals.

Much like the Dot Com bubble and the idea of getting online for the first time was treated like a fad, do not mistake what Social Media represents in the grand scheme of things. It is the oversimplification that is very much necessary in order for us to help get the majority of the world online for the first time, or if not for the first time, then to help them actually be able to use the Web to their advantage, and to do so with a lot more ease.

It’s no longer point and click. We’re now entering into a world of scroll and tap. Scroll through miles and miles of data until you find something of interest and tap to find out more on it. All with very little effort and in mere seconds. A lot of more complex things are going to keep getting easier, simpler, and more minimal. The technology does the work for us – sorting through all of that data to help find the right thing of interest.

Finding what is of interest amidst all of the countless data is the key. The quicker and easier you make the process the better.

I think the next big step is connecting all of your previous interactions on your mobile device to help simplify and speed up your next interaction.

For example:

If I search on Google for the name of an artist, and then I open YouTube, the device I am using should have a history of what I previously searched for on Google. And because it’s all within the same OS ecosystem, there should be no problem pulling that off by sharing across my other apps on my device (provided, of course, only with my opted in choice to allow them to do so).

</end-geek-rant>

Facebook and Mobile First

Mark Zuckerberg might have made a mistake for doubling down on the mobile Web browser over mobile apps – a mistake Facebook has now fixed with one of the most feature rich social apps out right now. And although I may be biased toward the mobile Web browser as a Web Developer who prefers simple markup over the mathematics of computer programming, I believe Facebook is poised to maintain a lead in advanced mobile Web browsing going forward. I don’t know of another site as rich with interaction through the touch of a smart phone. And it’s only going to get better with time. In fact, I think it might have been the smartest move for long term success in the always growing social and mobile and local world we now share. As I study the mobile Web more, I’m seeing just how far ahead Facebook is to everyone else. Right now Responsive design is winning the crowd, but in 5-10 years who will pull up your site on there desktop? I’m focusing my efforts on Mobile First. It’s the only game in town for me.