The Pew Internet Project tried do so with the release of a report titled Riding the Waves of Web 2.0: More than a buzzword, but still not easily defined.
Let’s get a few things clear right off the bat: 1) Web 2.0 does not have anything to do with Internet2: 2) Web 2.0 is not a new and improved internet network operating on a separate backbone: and 3) It is OK if you’ve heard the term and nodded in recognition, without having the faintest idea of what it really means.Let’s get a few things clear right off the bat: 1) Web 2.0 does not have anything to do with Internet2: 2) Web 2.0 is not a new and improved internet network operating on a separate backbone: and 3) It is OK if you’ve heard the term and nodded in recognition, without having the faintest idea of what it really means.
Disagree with 3). The number of people I have met that throw the term around without knowing about Tim O’Reilly’s article What is Web 2.0? is astounding. In a true buzzword fashion they picked up the meme (good) and attached a meaning to it from their context (good with caution) and stared to throw it around in the following fashion (not good):
The report looks at how online activity during the time known as Web 1.0 differed from that of Web 2.0, using data from market research group Hitwise to support its findings. It points out that the most common Internet activity to date is still sending and reading email, even with the popularity of IM, text, and social network site messaging.
Fully 53 percent of adult Internet users sent or read email on a typical day in December 2005—a figure virtually unchanged since 2000 when 52 percent of online adults emailed on a typical day. That’s more than instant messaging, blogging and online shopping combined. To close, the report compares Web 1.0 website community Geocities to Web 2.0 king MySpace. The Geocities model relied on “metaphors of place” while MySpace “anchors presence through metaphors of a person.”
The report states the obvious – Web 2.0, the social web, is about people. And I don’t think that’s going to change, even if the phrase itself gets tired or dies. Last Wednesday at an AOP conference about Content Evolution I saw a presentation by Tim O’Reilly talking about Web 2.0 but without mentioning the phrase much. Web 2.0 is a valid concept in as much as it’s not about the nuts and bolts of the internet but about increased understanding of what the net is capable of and how the various new behavioural patterns emerge.
These patterns can be built on to increase our options. They always enhance our understanding of the online space and occassionally fundamentally influence the way we interact, communicate, create, distribute and ultimately do business. I believe they bring back the way people communicate naturally (the markets are conversations meme). With a hindsight it’s easy to spot the trends as part of Web 1.0 but that’s because they have always been there. The fact is that very few people (notable exceptions are Tim Berners-Lee, the Cluetrain crowd and those who have been there from the start) understand what the internet, let alone the web, is about. Hence the whole dot com era and imposition of half-baked business models on it. Most people who use it don’t necessarily understand the internet. Well, most people who live on earth don’t necessarily understand it in all its aspects and the bigger picture may still elude us.. a very human condition. The internet has become an environment, pervasive and multi-faceted. And as with most environments understanding has never been a pre-condition of its use… as long as you don’t try to control it. Then it has a habit of blowing up in your face.
So, Web 2.0 still makes sense although various unsavoury marketing and media types have made it rather cheesy and ‘over-exposed’.