The shift to Web 2.0 concepts changed the internet as we know it. It went from being rather boring and information-based, to becoming interactive, dynamic, and social. This change has taken a few years, but it’s really starting to sink in and sit well with people all over the world.
We know Web 2.0 has become very useful for educational purposes. Teachers who know how to integrate the internet and social platforms into a child’s learning can provide an extra level of education compared to traditional book learning. This is important because the internet is going to be increasingly used for all academic and commercial endeavors.
But for the general populace, has it made us smarter? Do we know more now? Cass R. Sunstein wrote an interesting article for the NY Times about the effects of Web 2.0 on our general knowledge. Of course, figuring that out would be almost impossible, but it is possible to make some informed estimations about how we’re smarter because of Web 2.0.
Cass acknowledges that “it is clear … [that] the cost of getting knowledge is at an all-time low.” The internet now gives us access to millions of documents and untold information. It really is amazing what is at our fingertips and how easily we can share it with others.
Cass says that because of Web 2.0 and the development of the web in general, people “are finding it easier to make informed decisions about health, finance, politics and much more.” But at the same time, it is easier for people to reinforce incorrect beliefs or perspectives on some topics. This can happen when people find the social groups on the web that hold the same incorrect beliefs. That can lead to the person becoming a “zealot.”
Ultimately, everyone can agree that Web 2.0 has been overall good for us when it comes to knowledge. Think about all of the countless things you can learn, and learn easily, throughout the week because of the internet. The possibilities are endless!