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Web science a field of study : Tim Berners-Lee

November 2, 2006

Online networking and commerce has reached the point where Tim Berners-Lee is going to lead a joint Web sciences program by MIT and the University of Southampton in Britain.

As reported in the New York Times:

Web science, the researchers say, has social and engineering dimensions. It extends well beyond traditional computer science, they say, to include the emerging research in social networks and the social sciences that is being used to study how people behave on the Web. And Web science, they add, shifts the center of gravity in engineering research from how a single computer works to how huge decentralized Web systems work.

‘The Web isn’t about what you can do with computers,’ Mr. Berners-Lee said. ‘It’s people and, yes, they are connected by computers. But computer science, as the study of what happens in a computer, doesn’t tell you about what happens on the Web.’

You hear people say all the time how the Internet has changed everything. I’m not sure they understand the magnitude of the change and where we are headed.

In the legal field, for example, lawyers may click around the net on a browser but very, very few lawyers interact in online social networks. They view it as a petty waste of time. While at the same time they’ll spend hundreds of hours of time networking offline as a means of marketing.

I found the net as a 40 year old lawyer in 1996. I was amazed by the interaction taking place among people who could use my services. Those were the days of communities at AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy. With blogs, RSS, and online networks gone wild, it’s a whole different world. I’ve been able to bring a new service and company to market on a shoe strong and grow it to approaching 7 figures in revenues in a couple years – all via a blog and online networking. Imagine what we’ll all be capable of in 10 years when I hit 60.

Your kids and grandkids are going to study Web sciences and the history of the Internet. Don’t join in online networking now and they’ll be asking where were you when all this was going on.

Source of post: Read/Write Web

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