Sometimes, it takes a global event to show what technology can do. For example, the recent assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto offers a telling case on how Web 2.0 is creeping into our daily lives. While I’ve been sticking largely to old media coverage of her murder — fed to me neatly by Google’s handy desktop RSS widget — Twitter has been abuzz with thoughts, speculation and updates as people generate them.
When it comes to world news, distributed information changes the entire picture. To see how much, just consider how two high-impact cases of political violence (9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings) brought down Web sites dedicated to keeping people up to date on the situation. Not only do a distributed points of information prevent that from happening, it also provides an amazing comprehensive and flexible means of staying up to date.
This has tremendous implications for not only the news business, but also enterprises, as they struggle with information sharing technology. I won’t dig into those implications too deeply today, as they’re immense, but suffice it to say that info-sharing widgets definitely aren’t toys anymore.