The social Web & 2007-’08

This past year was "when the Internet's potential as a transformative force expanded. This was the year we understood that the Internet is more than just another medium. It is an emerging society," reported the Times of India in an editorial, "The Year of Facebook." I agree that 2007 was the year we all saw the social Web take off, we began to see its potential for good, and we heard a whole lot about its downside. But the editorial seems to contradict itself where it says the Internet is "an emerging society" while earlier saying that "it's an extension of the physical world." Maybe it's both, but I think – for youth – it's more the latter, and adults can learn a lot from watching how young people "live" online (see "Oral culture online" and "The social Web Petri dish"). Australian IT looked at Google's Zeitgeist 2007 (the search engine's survey of billions of Web searches to determine "what's been on our collective consciousness") and reports that "7 out of the 10 hottest topics which triggered Internet queries during the year involved social networking" (the Zeitgeist is here). "A Top 10 list compiled by the world's most-used search engine includes British website Badoo, San Francisco-based Hi5, and Facebook." Also in the Top 10 were video-sharing sites YouTube and Dailymotion, Disney's, and virtual world Second Life. As for MySpace, Australian IT adds, "one in every four US residents uses MySpace, while in Britain it is as common to have a profile page on the Web site as it is to own a dog." As for 2008, there's good and bad ahead too – see "Tech trends in 2008" from San Jose Mercury News columnist Dean Takahashi.

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