November 10, 2005

Web 2.0: What's All the Buzz About?

When I first heard the phrase, "Web 2.0", the first thing that entered my mind was, "Wow, how are they going to upgrade the Internet?" ;^) All kidding aside, it's already happening. I see it as mostly an evolutionary (as opposed to revolutionary) progression.

You can already see it in how search engines and various online resources have expanded, morphed, and matured. What really brought it alive for me was Tim O'Reilly's recent article, "What is Web 2.0". I'm a visual person, and his article presents a table of excellent examples:

Web 1.0   Web 2.0
DoubleClick --> Google AdSense
Ofoto --> Flickr
Akamai --> BitTorrent --> Napster
Britannica Online --> Wikipedia
personal websites --> blogging
evite --> and EVDB
domain name speculation --> search engine optimization
page views --> cost per click
screen scraping --> web services
publishing --> participation
content management systems --> wikis
directories (taxonomy) --> tagging ("folksonomy")
stickiness --> syndication

Think about these for a moment, and think where your interaction and use of the Web has changed over the past five years. From this, it's easier to make sense of the visual Web 2.0 Meme Map, which expands on these examples.

For me, Web 2.0's context has crystallized into concepts such as:

  • Blogs as participation and networking, not publishing (although blogging is still a form of publishing in the strictest sense)

  • Consumer focus through syndication -- not keeping them captive via "stickiness" tricks and strategies

  • Harnessing the power of collective intelligence, and radical trust as the foundation of collaboration (think wikis)

  • The return of "Have it your way" for customer self-service and self-manipulation of data in a more convenient and meaningful way

  • Tagging, not taxonomy (although I think this can be somewhat difficult to grasp at first)
Once I got my head around these driving concepts, then the various technologies and services started to make a lot more sense.

It's not a short article, but it does a pretty good job of putting a face, via examples, of what Web 2.0 is, and perhaps just as importantly, what it isn't.

Topic(s):   Web Wizardry
Posted by Jeff Beard

Hi Jeff,
I enjoyed meeting you albeit briefly at BlawgThink and I've added you to my feed. I missed the Web 2.0 discussions at BlawgThink so I was glad to this terrific post on Web 2.0. It's exhilerating to see all these tools but makes me worry about how far behind I am already (still using Ofoto!)


Posted by: Carolyn Elefant at November 16, 2005 09:26 AM