This is not a term I am particularly fond of simply for the fact that no two people seem to define it in the same way. Also, call me a curmudgeon, but I just don’t like buzz words. Since I categorically refuse to use a term I can’t clearly define, I set out to learn how other people define Web 2.0. I read a bunch of blog posts and articles, but came out even more confused. Is Web 2.0 the Semantic Web? Is it social software? Is it the same as Web Services, the freeing of content from applications so that content can be combined and reused in myriad ways? Is it any web application that is dynamic, scalable, interoperable, etc? Or is it simply going beyond the static HTML page? I understand the individual examples, like Flickr (Web 2.0) vs. Ofoto (Web 1.0) and taxonomy (Web 2.0) vs. folksonomy (Web 1.0), but examples do not make a definition.
Here are some of the things I read in the attempt to define Web 2.0. Maybe you can make better sense of it all:
- Web 2.0 by example – What is Web 2.0 by Tim O’Reilly.
- I don’t know what it is, but I know I like it – Why Web2.0 Matters: Preparing for Glocalization by Danah Boyd at Apophenia (a terrific blog, BTW).
- Doing things on the Web… socially – Web 2.0 Elevator Pitch from the Read/WriteWeb.
- What ever happened to the good old semantic web? – If this is the Web 2.0, then what is the Semantic Web? by Fred On Something.
- Smells like Web Services – Web 2.0 and the Long Tail, Part 2 by Chris Anderson in The Long Tail. Love the quote “the lack of a crisp definition is a feature, not a bug.”
- The Internet as nature (or Tim Berners-Lee) intended – What is Web 2.0? at Edge Perspectives with John Hagel.
- The business perspective – Web 2.0 Acid Test by Ian Kennedy at Flashpoint.
- My favorite, really is Dave Winer’s definition: “The Web is real. The Semantic Web is an idea and Web 2.0 is a marketing concept used by venture capitalists and conference promoters to try to call another bubble into existence.” (Love it!)
I agree that something interesting is happening on the Web. I love the idea of the Semantic Web, I get excited about the power of Web Services, and I spend my nights dreaming about the applications of social software in libraries. But Web 2.0?
Maybe I can get a little more excited when I finally understand what it is.