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Jinfo BlogWeb 2.0 - hype and truth

Friday, 18th September 2009

By Penny Crossland

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Yesterday’s CLSIG seminar entitled “Web 2.0 – the truth behind the hype” has already generated a fair amount of comment in the information blogosphere (see James Mullan’s blog at http://digbig.com/5bahfq and http://woodsiegirl.wordpress.com/). The thought provoking session held at Hammonds LLP’s offices in the City took the format of a pro and con debate. Phil Duffy, Information Services Manager at Hammonds took on the role of the cynic, arguing against the concept of Web 2.0 as a whole. Duffy proposed that the proliferation of Web 2.0 had made finding quality information harder (more information does not equal better information ), and that web content is not creative (rather a re-hash of what is already out there. Phil argued that the much-lauded benefits of online collaboration can lead to fragmented working, i. e. disparate people working on similar projects, without contributing value to the whole and that Generation Y has led to information professionals who are unable to shelve books and find facts in printed sources. Finally, there is the question of security – who controls all that social media? This is where the familiar conspiracy theory that the CIA had a hand in creating Facebook reared its head. Karen Blakeman of RBA Information Services (http://www.rba.co.uk/) took the opposite stance and pointed out the many benefits of Web 2.0 (while agreeing that the label should be ditched). Whilst acknowledging the vast amounts of useless information on the web, Karen emphasized the many benefits of using social media, such as establishing new contacts, marketing & promotion, reputation monitoring and knowledge sharing to name a few. Karen’s key point, however, which the audience seemed to agree with, is that Web 2.0 is what we make of it. It is entirely up to us how much information we want put “out there” and share with others, and which particular web tools we want to use. Was Karen referring to those who still do not “get” Twitter? One may be a cynic when it comes to Web 2.0, but there is no point in burying one’s head in the sand. From an information professional’s point of view, Web 2.0 has opened up a wealth of sources and links to experts. Quality may be hard to find, but that has always been the case, and is that not what we are trained to do? To view Karen Blakeman’s presentation, go to http://digbig.com/5bahfx.

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