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Flogging a dead horse – technologies that don’t belong on the web

The web has come a long way since it’s inception. No longer is it a mismash of ugly looking static pages, posted by scientists. Ecommerce has gone nuts, allowing people to perform online banking and shopping. The advent of blogging has allowed anyone with a net connection to become an author and post their opinions on stuff. Web 2.0 social websites have brought the net back to the people – all in all a pretty exciting time.

However! There are some technologies that seem to be gaining steam because that is what everyone expected the web to do two years ago. The reason that these technologies will fail is because they are trying to force a paradigm where it doesn’t fit. This technique was fine a couple of years ago, but now that the web has started to find it’s feet, the incompatibility is becoming clearer.

One that immediately comes to mind is video-blogging (vblogs). Ever since people realised you could download a video off the net, on-demand video has been touted as the next big thing. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will happen. Why? It is an old medium. It is still one-way. You can’t interact with the video – you are forced to sit and watch and listen to the story. You can’t skim view it, nor can you do other stuff while watching it (You can almost get away with listening to it and doing something else, in which case, it would make more sense to listen to an audio podcast). Not to mention the speed issues – broadband still hasn’t gotten fast enough to really make it work. We young and part of the now generation – we don’t want to wait for for a video download only to find out it is crap.

Another is online newspapers. Sure, these have been around for a while but they have really missed the mark on the web. What is the point of setting up a newspaper to look and feel like it’s real-world counterpart? If I wanted to read my news like that, I would go and buy the paper. The way slashdot distributes it’s news is much closer to the mark. Give me tidbits from every story. That way I can make up my mind straight away if I want to continue reading. Trying to “flick” through a paper online in a traditional sense is too much effort.

What other technologies can you think that are being pushed, but don’t really belong?


  1. I agree with this point: "You can almost get away with listening to it and doing something else, in which case, it would make more sense to listen to an audio podcast"

    But I think some people do it right. I think if a video is short and actually demonstrates something relevant to the information on the webpage in which it resides, it works (like the Make videos).

    Talking head videos don't work and may as well be a podcast as you say.

    I think like all things on the web, trying to bring an existing media style to it fails. everything changes when on the web, writing styles, presentation styles and the same goes for other media too. You just have to do it right in the 'web' way.
  2. This is true - the make videos are awesome. I still think video is to much of a distraction though. I guess you can watch them in your lunch break :)

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