Heraclitus was right

So, in the fifth century B.C., Heraclitus had Web 2.0 pretty much figured out.

Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ ο�δὲν μένει.

(Everything is in flux;
nothing stands still.)

Ray Sims wrote the other day about What 2.0 Memes to Me. He shared ways that he’s grouped various 2.0 characteristics (the glosses here are mine):

  • It’s all about me: user-generated content, diversity, personal tags, informality
  • …and my networks: connections, interaction, sharing
  • It’s open: open source, transparent, encouraging feedback
  • …emergent: innovative, light, not “managed”
  • …fast: easy to start, easy to use, rapid responses
  • …and always on: global, less and less dependent on particular hardware platforms

I like this arrangement. I did think, as I said in a comment on his blog, that I might pull out another category that I call pragmatic. I’m seeing 2.0 things as good enough for now, but by no means permanent, like renting a place to live.

saucer_rental.jpgRight now, for example, I’ve got my blogs (thanks, WordPress). I use NetVibes, and CoComment, and del.icio.us, and I’ve started using Twitter. I set up MediaWiki on my own site to play with that.

So far, they do what I wanted them to do (except, perhaps, Twitter, since I’m not sure what I want it to be doing). I have no illusions that in, say, 18 months, I’ll be using any of them, and I’m pretty sure some new tools will come along.

The old notion of a toolbox is as a container for a certain amount of stuff, and for most people, that stuff stays the same. Physical tools don’t change much; new ones don’t come out every week. (Craftsman claw hammer 3.2, compatible with Mac and Linux?) In the working world, Heraclitus would feel pretty much at home.

Ray Sims does talk about several of these “pragmatic characteristic: “perpetual beta, never complete, frequently changes, fast to appear, sometimes fast to become irrelevant.”

The “pragmatic” label is really a reminder for myself. Sometimes I prefer to concentrate, to go deeper, and constant changes can throw me off balance (or annoy the bejabbers out of me). I like CoComment, for example, but it seems that every so often it just plain forgets to retain comments I make. Where do they go? Why? I’m not interested (or crazy) enough to pursue this, which means I tend to treat CoComment like my tack hammer with the loose head: I use it, but I don’t count on it.

I feel more balanced to think of the stuff I use as pragmatic, like my current computer and other office set-up. This is what I work with now; it’s bound to change. Everything is in flux.

“For rent” image by greenkayak73.

One thought on “Heraclitus was right

  1. You might want to try co.mments instead of CoComment. I got so tired of CoComment’s flakiness and some lousy responses from their customer service that I switched. Once in a while their server takes so long to load that it times out, but overall it’s much more stable.


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