Martin Weller has a thoughtful post about the technophobic argument that Twitter/FaceBook/CloudComputing/Web2.0/Blogging (delete as appropriate) is just a passing fad. (I hear this all the time from people who seem to hold me personally responsible for whatever technological craze is currently annoying them.)
Even if it doesn’t turn out as some enthusiasts predict there is one key point that the detractors always miss – it will never go back to how it was. After wikipedia, Flickr, YouTube, iTunes, etc the idea that consumers of newspapers, books, music, television, and yes, education, will realise it was all just a silly mistake and go back to how it was may be what the industry leaders dream of, but is unlikely, to say the least.
Which brings me on to my even if we’re wrong, we’re right argument. Sure things won’t be the utopian vision of free services, open education and democratisation that some talk of, but whatever comes after the current trends will build on top of them. Just as web 2.0 built on what had happened in the first wave of web development. And the people who got it, the founders and the visionaries weren’t people who had dismissed the web and insisted it would go away. They were people who engaged with it, and could see how to take it forward. So, whatever comes after web 2.0 (don’t say web 3.0), the people best placed to understand it and adapt to it will be those who have immersed themselves in the current technological climate, and not those who have sat waiting for it to fail so they can say ‘told you so.’
In my experience, by the way, a good way of discomfiting people who decry the Web is to ask whether they use RyanAir or EasyJet. The majority have, and these are so-called ‘ticketless’ airlines. The point being, of course, that even those who regard the Web as a passing fad are totally reliant on it for cheap air travel!