October 05, 2008

Web 2.0 and Democratization of Data - Say What?

By Mona Nomura of Pixel Bits (FriendFeed/Twitter)

If George W. Bush and John Kerry campaigned for the presidency on the Internet four years ago, I wouldn't have seen the point and likely would have laughed in their faces. Who would have heard and listened to them? Fast forward to today, and the joke is on me.

In case you haven't noticed, both of the presidential hopefuls have a presence on the web. John McCain and Barack Obama have accounts on the major social networks, including MySpace, Facebook, YouTube channels, and even Twitter accounts. Social networking is no longer just for geeks. Web 2.0 is going mainstream and everyone (that means you, reader!) has opportunity to be more than an audience. Data is democratizing and everyone's voice can be heard.

Need more proof everyone has a voice that's heard? Take the Steve Job's false report of a heart attack debacle. A simple post on CNN's affiliate citizen journalism site, iReport, generated a massive ripple effect. Within minutes, the unconfirmed "news" spread like wild fire. CNN and Apple quickly issued official statements that report was false, major blogs picked up the story of falsified reports, but Apple's stock still dropped 10%. All from one silly rumor, started by a Joe Schmoe from who knows where. Everyone has opportunity to be heard. Hence, democratization of data.

So what does that mean?

Well, stay with me, as I take this a step further. Most of you probably know me through FriendFeed, where I spend almost 90% of my days posting random pictures and or links. Now FriendFeed was once dominated by veteran bloggers, Internet personalities, - basically folks who have been around for some time, and put years of efforts into their well deserved titles by their names - or the tech 'elite'. It's now been a little over three months since I signed up, and still can't believe I interact with the information sources where tech-news (data) start and circulate around. But honestly? The 'elite' in my eyes, are regular people who are a part of the FriendFeed I love so much. And it's not constrained to FriendFeed. Whether you or anyone else for that matter, likes it or not, there are so many people from all walks of life, from all over the world sharing and discussing information on all social networks across the board. How can every single voice not be heard? Again, democratization of data. And this is only the beginning.

Think about it.

New sites and services are popping up every month. Established, major Social Networks such as MySpace and or Facebook are adding features, functions, and tools encouraging users to share data. The way Social Networks will be used are changing. There are millions of active users like us, sharing our personal stories, the latest news, information pertaining to our professional life, or even stupid cat photos since we - the users, have the choice and control to share whatever we feel is important to share. The bottomline: Information is no longer consolidated, centralized, or coming from a few selected sources. Data is now and will only continue to be democratized.

The path is now paved, so the choice is yours. How will you exercise these options?

Read more by Mona Nomura at Pixel Bits.