The Tree and the Folder: Your mind on Web 2.0
by pam ashlund
My mind thinks in trees and folders. I’ve grown up in a DOS and Windows world and it’s not a surprise that the metaphors offered by these operating systems have shaped my thought. As usual with metaphors, it’s hard to say which is the chicken and which is the egg. Did the operating system designers choose a metaphor that was natural to us? Or did the fact that we think that way to begin with, determine their choice? Ah who cares? Well, I do.
Why am I finding this an interesting question today? Because, so far, I’ve been unable to adapt to the Google Email model of “starred” items without folders. Is something wrong with me or is there something wrong with the model? Then there is deli.cio.us, where I have “bundled” my tags. I can’t seem to stop thinking of the bundles as folders, again, who’s fault? Mine or the software?
To Share or not to Share, that is the question
In another post I joked about my difficulty with social bookmarking, citing my anti-social nature as the culprit. Parents all over the world struggle with teaching kids to share. Want to share my sandwich? Sure, no prob. Want to share my knowledge? I’m not so sure. What do my bookmarks say about me? Do I really want the world to know?
I enjoy the process of organization. I’d argue that it is exactly this tendency that has helped the post-it and the binder-clip to flourish. But it feels weird to have someone else putting post-it’s on my stuff.
On the other hand, there is something marvelous, something exponential about this kind of group process. We are (whether its good or bad, whether we like it or not) creating a group mind (or at least a group body of knowledge). We are being wiki’d, for better or worse.
So go ahead, tag my metaphor, bookmark my post, star my email, and wiki my words, make them your own. It's a brave new world.
Technorati Tags: DOS, NPTech, Gmail, Metaphor, Social Bookmarking, Web 2.0, Wiki, Windows