I suppose all of us have heard it said many times that “the more you put into something, the more you’ll get out of it.” And my recent experiences in being involved in the Flock community only bears out the wisdom of that statement.
For instance, last night I spent a bit of time proofreading Eli’s newly developed Wiki explanation of how to verify a bug in Flock. In doing so, I rediscovered how to identify which build of Flock you are using, which is needed information if you are going to report a bug. I’ve also learned a bit about participating on IRC by hanging out on the irc-flock channel and observing the dialog that takes place there. Not only do you get a sense of the personalities of the Flock developers, but you also see how hard they work to make a product such as Flock work. So whether it is becoming involved in a church, a political party, or a hobby, jumping in and contributing whatever you have to offer, putting something in leads to a significant return on your investment of time.
And now here’s the point of these observations.
I believe the same principle applies to the Internet itself. You can simply be an observer of it by reading web pages, and from that you’ll derive a certain amount of pleasure and enlightenment, or you can become a participant in it by creating content online, whether through something like Flickr or writing a blog or participating in forums or becoming involved with an open source project. In my experience it is much more educational and clearly more fun to participate in the Internet than just to observe it by reading the content that others contribute. At the risk of committing the crime of using trendy terminology, Web 2.0 is to me far more fun than Web 1.0 was.