Web 2.0 Is What, Now? What? Huh?

I have a confession to make, Nonfamousi, and I hope you will not think less of me for it. Here goes…

I have no idea what Web 2.0 is.

There, I’ve said it. Whew.

Look, I’m not a total techno-illiterate. I have a WordPress blog and I use the Performancing Plug-in for Firefox to do my authoring. I use – and love – Flickr. I participate in blogging community sites like this one and BlogHer. I do almost all of my blog reading via RSS. I use Technorati tagging. I know what MySpace and Del.icio.us and Digg are and I know what a lens is. I had a 43Things account for a while, I’ve made a podcast and listened to others. All that technology name dropping aside, I still have no idea what Web 2.0 is.

I tried to read the O’Reilly presentation and the Wikipedia entry about Web 2.0, but I’m also reading Dickens right now and there’s only so much wading through complex language that a person can be expected to do in their free time.

I’m beginning to suspect that Web 2.0 isn’t a real thing. It’s a label that some academic type applied to the social networking phenomenon that’s becoming part of the technology mainstream. “Look, people are talking to each other and sharing ideas via user editable technology! We gotta call that something!” There are whole conferences devoted to Web 2.0. There are papers and marketing initiatives and there are jobs for strategists that will asssist companies with their Web 2.0 plan.

But I do not know what Web 2.0 is.

Does anyone remember when XML was the silver bullet? I remember it very well because XML’s ascendency was followed by a large packet of papers announcing that my stock options had been cancelled and were officially worthless, thank you very much. I’m only mildly bitter about that, but I did learn a thing or two.

Like, one should find out what the technology really is before hitching their wagon to what’s supposed to be the next rising star. So I turn to you, Nonfamousi. Can anyone tell me what Web 2.0 is? My future probably doesn’t depend on my knowing the answer to this question, but I won’t know that until I know what Web 2.0 is.

4 thoughts on “Web 2.0 Is What, Now? What? Huh?”

  1. examples of web 1.0 sites:
    wctu.org
    prohibitionists.org
    a waving flag gif is usually a good indication you have returned to web 1.0.

    examples of web 2.0 sites:
    meebo.com
    bashr.com
    colr.org
    quality UI and flash interactivity is also a common 2.0 characteristic

    hope all that helps…i think shaun was sleeping on this one…

  2. 5 days later… yes, i’ve been sleeping. my house was broken into and i haven’t been sleeping well knowing that someone could come in at will. also, it is time for fantasy football to start so anytime i spend reading online has been about people’s hammy’s and ACL’s and the like. but randall has done a good job, he’s honorary tech geek for now.

    but in case anyone cares, my definition that i use for web 2.0 is this: it’s describing a shift in the internet paradigm from information based content to service based content (e.g. instead of a company having a website for people to look at, companies have a or are a website people participate in).
    and maybe if you dig a little deeper, it also describes a shift from professionaly developed content to user contributed content.

    just my take on a very broad topic. when i first heard about it, i thought it was something physical in the routers (lol)

    ps. everytime i spelled “shift” i actually spelled “shit” then had to go back and correct myself

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