My referrer log harvester and stats were down last week, so I missed out on just how much traffic and flow my Semantic Web ramble had gotten. But, I followed the paths back to a riff on the Semantic Web by mrG of ?TeledyN, perhaps more appropriately predicting The Semantic Mycelia. And I think it's on the mark with what I've been thinking lately.
I've yet to really have time to dunk my head into the Semantic Web barrel for the apples yet, play with the tools, get some results, but I think I get the mojo. And it excites me. But, I've yet to really see any flowers bloom or any heads pop off. I hate to criticize or critique, not having walked the walk yet, but I worry that the present state of things Semantic Web and RDF are walking similar cathedral paths that Xanadu wandered decades ago. I say this in the sense that there seems to be a lot of heavy design up in the clouds, and not enough improvisation down on the ground. And it's the improvisation that kicked the web off to its heights.
On the other hand, it's not like one company has the Semantic Web in a stranglehold. There are groups which, had I the spare time and inclination, I could probably join and pitch in a hand. It seems an open and friendly group, normal birthing struggles and conflicts notwithstanding. So I'd say this thing seems more a bazaar than a cathedral.
But from my occasional stops by the farm, looking over the fence, I see equipment and activity, but no loam or topsoil tilled with things blooming. I don't see the mushrooms popping up in the moist dirt. I see lots of work on the tractors, but I don't see the ground getting into condition for all the little fungi to spontaneously appear. And that's what I see with the web now, and with the blogosphere. The dirt's nice and warm and space aplenty, so things are burbling up all the time. And it feels like I'm getting some neat things done without the need to commit a slab of time to a group or a process other than my own jazz on my own time at the keyboard.
I guess what I'm getting at is that the Semantic Web just doesn't yet seem to me to be sufficiently dirty enough for the grassroots to grow. But I'm still unsure about this assertion. Need to play more.