Thanks to the web, mobile phones, and related technologies, most of us are connected to each other all the time. We are constantly consuming information about everything under the sun, and the internet has essentially transformed the way that we live and work. As Anne Zulenka (of Web Worker Daily and Gigaom) says, if the early days of the web were the Information Age, we are now in the Connected Age.
“Today’s version of the web, whatever you want to call it, is notable because people and hardware and information and software and conversation are all mixed together into a hyperconnected network. Maybe instead of getting tangled up in discussions of what’s web 1.0 vs. web 2.0 vs. web 3.0, we might look instead at another shift: how the web enables us to move from one era into another, from the Information Age to the Connected Age. You can see this shift both in the practices of individual workers and in the strategies of technology companies.”
She compares the internet to a stew – there are many different ingredients (websites and applications), but they can all mingle and touch each other (links, mashups, etc.). Each one makes the whole more interesting.
Working with the web is no longer the sole province of techies and nerds – we all get our news, do research, and communicate via the net – so it’s especially important for businesses to take note of how it is woven into our everyday lives. For instance, people planning on entering the Knight News Challenge are probably already aware of our inter-connectedness, but a reminder of how attention and relationships are the new priorities doesn’t hurt. After all, when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of websites trying to get noticed, it is the ones that enable people interact with each other and build a community around a shared interest or location that tend to stick.