"Confused consumers, massive layoffs, shrinking newspapers — is this what Web 2.0 has brought us?"

That’s the provocative conclusion drawn by poet and blogger John F. McMullen in this piece published recently at Web 2.0 The Magazine. In it, he acknowledges the disruptiveness of the new tools and yet urges attentive patience as we see over time how the media shift affects life in our society.

In addition to the immediate inconveniences of web 2.0 technologies, McMullen reminds us of all the good they are bringing us–

“…much more information, greater opportunities for self-advertising (giving entrepreneurs opportunities previously lacking), a much greater diversity of opinion – a Marxist or a Nazi might not be able to be heard in the physical world; he or she can be heard in this brave new world. Some would think that this is a bad idea; I don’t! I think that as wide as possible a diversity of opinion is a good thing – but I want an informed public that can reject the ramblings of bigots and nuts.”

So, although there will be downsides to these disruptive new tools–many folks’ cheese will indeed be moved–these changes are unavoidable. And given that, here is where the sensible McMullen gets on our educational bandwagon. The best defense against rapid changes? Learning the new tools, getting close to them, and not giving into fear-instinct and fleeing them.

He concludes:

Web 2.0 presents real challenges, both to technologists and to the general public. For it – and we – to be successful, all must be informed enough to understand the challenges and competent enough to deal with them

To which I say, “Hurrah!

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