Atlanta should skip Web 2.0
May 12, 2008 § 11 Comments
I love Atlanta. I’ve been here for almost 12 years and I think it is a great city. We’ve got millions of people, great neighborhoods, great restaurants, a major airport, lots of free wi-fi, plenty of diverse businesses, a healthy laptop per capita ratio in any coffee shop you should happen to wander into, but somehow I think that Atlanta is not living up to its potential as a great center for web innovation. And I don’t think I am alone in this opinion.
I’m not saying there is no innovation here, but I think as a city we are a little behind the times. I offer as example the reluctant adoption of Web 2.0 in Atlanta. Web 2.0 as both a term and a practice seems to have only grudgingly been accepted in the Atlanta business world. Sure, there is a growing pool of adopters leading the charge at events like SoCon07 and 08, AWE, and Barcamp, but to call them early adopters would only be accurate in a geographically limited definition. They’re early for Georgia, but not for the world. I’d like to see that change.
I think Atlanta should skip Web 2.0. Not skip as in miss, but skip as in skip ahead. Instead of playing perpetual catch-up with innovation centers like Silicon Valley, Seattle, Boston and NY, we should leap-frog those places and boldly invest in our time, money, thoughts and effort in redefining the context of the Internet. The web has become the plumbing of our lives. Business is changing, marketing is changing, socializing is changing, lines are blurring, but we drag our feet and take incremental steps toward ideas that come to us from the west coast.
There are people in this town who would like to see Atlanta at the center of the discourse – a legitimate force in shaping our collective destinies through technology and its catalytic effect on human interaction. And there is no reason why we can’t be, but we won’t get there by being a follower. We need to figure out what Web 4.0 is, or 5.0, or maybe dare to embrace a term that isn’t Web x.x anything, but something new, something ambitious, something risky. We might look silly, but we also may find a point of view, a value, a context that re-centers the discourse.
Let’s start talking.