Web 2.0 articles in bdaily #2 – What

by Justin Souter on January 14, 2009

n.b. This was originally published on bdaily.

Digitage Web 2.0

Photo credit to ocean.flynn

“Web 2.0: The ‘What’

The ‘What’ of Web 2.0 can be difficult to pin down. Tim O’Reilly’s original description doesn’t give a succinct definition. However, the analyst Forrester defines Web 2.0 as:

“A set of technologies and applications that enable efficient interaction among people, content, and data in support of collectively fostering new businesses, technology offerings, and social structures.”

The Gartner Group – another analyst, reckons there are three clusters:

  1. “Technology and architecture” – how the back-end technical stuff has changed (ask your Web people); also Really Simple Syndication (RSS), which is like email in that it brings web content to your desktop.
  2. “Community and social” – the familiar tools like blogging, wikis, also social networking, and micro-blogging tools like Twitter. There seem to be limitless others!
  3. “Business and process” –
    • e.g. a “mashup”: a website or application which combines two or more data feeds, the classic example being Housingmaps – taking data from Google maps and Craigslist classified adverts
    • also Software as a Service (SaaS) – where an application is hosted and delivered without dedicated desktop software and often used through a web browser (e.g. Google Mail)

n.b. although I will mention 1 & 3 above, these articles will mainly deal with the community and social side of things.

Web 2.0, as its name suggests, is the latest development of Tim Berners-Lee’s brilliant idea. The main distinguishing feature of Web 2.0 is that users have been given tools to create content for themselves – e.g. YouTube’s strapline is “Broadcast Yourself”.

Web 2.0 is also mindset issue and a generational one. Young people, who have grown up with computers, are happy to share personal information online: this is the direct opposite to older people, who view this as a vital privacy / security issue.

The power these tools put in our hands has created a grave threat to the traditional broadcasting and publishing industries (not to mention music).Whilst some believe that the ‘lunatics have taken over the asylum’, I contend that once we have learned / made up a broadly acceptable slate of new rules, there is much to be gained.

Things to bear in mind:

Feel free to ask any questions at bdaily.info or on my own site, and join us next Wednesday when we’ll be looking at the ‘why’ of Web 2.0.”

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Series NavigationWeb 2.0 articles in bdaily #1 – IntroductionWeb 2.0 articles in bdaily #3 – Why

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