Web 2.0 vs. The Tradesman

April 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm (Web 2.0) (, , )

"On the internet, nobody knows you're a plumber"

Web 2.0 technology has been around for at least the last five years. Although not yet considered mainstream, Web 2.0 applications such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have become accepted words in the social vernacular.

These applications typically lend themselves to informal collaboration across multiple social worlds (McLoughlin & Lee, 2008), seemingly replicating everyday human interactions.

But how does this apply to the offline tradesmen? Are the benefits touted by tertiary institutions applicable to graduate trade training?

A self-employed electrician may have little requirement for external collaboration in order to complete a task, however when the task requires the use of specialist tools or knowledge it can be certain that some collaboration takes place. In the modern world it is not just computers that are changing at a great rate; trade knowledge and skill sets are constantly evolving creating specialised subfields (Surowiecki, 2004) that make it harder for one ‘master’ to know everything.

Collaboration is key and Web 2.0 tools like blogging, YouTube, and Facebook (forums) allow people with similar interests to exchange ideas. These online communities of practice contain users who volunteer their time and knowledge to help others (Casarez, Cripe, & Sini, 2008), and in doing so create specifically tailored information for the individual. Contrast this with Web 1.0 (webpage’s) technology where generic, broad topic information is ‘pushed’ out to the user and the attraction of Web 2.0 technology is obvious.

Becoming involved in these technologies may not be a day-to-day necessity for the average tradesman but as a tool for their own development and the development of others, Web 2.0 may be the ultimate collaborative tool. Perhaps this form of information ‘philanthropy ‘ may become the new charity of the modern age …


Casarez, V., Cripe, B., & Sini, J. (2008). Reshaping Your Business with Web 2.0. New York, NY, USA: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.

McLoughlin, C., & Lee, M. J. W. (2008). The Three P’s of Pedagogy for the Networked Society: Personalization, Participation, and Productivity. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 20(1), 10 – 27.

Surowiecki, J. (2004). Wisdom of Crowds : Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. Westminster, MD, USA: Doubleday Publishing.


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