I need help explaining ‘why?’
January 16, 2013 § 10 Comments
Last month, Anil Dash wrote The Web We Lost. It struck a chord: making the case that there has been t a subtle but massive shift on the web. Not simply a shift from open to closed. It’s more nuanced. Rather, a shift a web that is more human and craftlike to one that is more mechanical and industrial. My words, not his.
As I read it, I was struck by a) how Dash’s post is very much at the heart of why we’re doing Mozilla Webmaker and b) that we’ve done a very poor job ourselves of explaining that why. Which is the reason I’m reaching out to you. I’m working with a bunch of people to explain why anyone should care about web literacy. I need your help.
Myself and others on the Webmaker team came up with this ‘five liner’ to explain the why of what we’re doing.
1. Our goal: help 100Ms more people become makers who understand and tap the full power of the web.
2. Why? The web has fueled massive creativity, productivity and wealth. We want this to continue.
3. When the web was young: people looked under the hood, figured out how it worked and made things.
4. This ‘just figure it out and make it’ is harder to come by today. The hood is harder to open. Learning as you go is not so easy.
5. Mozilla want to turn this upside down. We want to make it easy easy to open again, to learn how things work and to tap the full power of the web.
It’s rough, for sure. But, if you look at the middle three points, you get the idea. The web has given lots to humanity. That happened because it was open and learnable. Now it’s more closed and hard to learn. Which, by implication, puts all the stuff we’ve gotten from the web at risk. Or something like that.
a. For the bullets above, what evidence or examples would you add to bring these points to life? E.g. the private sector has seen 13% rise in productivity due to the web.
b. What other top level arguments would you make for massive web literacy? Why should people care about 100s millions more people understanding how the web works?
c. Most important: how do we deal with the YouTube/Facebook factor? I.e. people are already ‘making stuff’ on social media. What are we talking about that is different? What does ‘the full power of the web’ really offer?
Cracking this nut is important to us. The ideas of ‘web literacy’ and ‘making as learning’ are going to be part of big campaigns we and others do this year. Succinctly explaining why these things matter is going to be critical to success.
Any ideas or comments you’ve got, not matter how hair brained they seem, are helpful. Please leave comments below. Or add to this etherpad.