Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Web 2.0. future or bust?

With the blogosphere incredibly full of talk of web 2.0,library 2.0 and education 2.0, to name just a few, there has been more than a few rumblings. Some pro (like myself to a degree) and many more preferring to say its bubble 2.0. I just wanted to comment on this.
Put simply, in my opinion the 2.0 phenemona is its a label. Often an annoying one, but one that sits well in our mind.
My description of web 2.0 I like comes from techsoup. Techsoup points out the importance of web 2.0 criteria:-
1.Blogging - online diaries with companies such as Blogger

2. RSS Feeds - Regular updates on your computer from your favourite websites and blogs, caught and sent to you by an aggregator. Such software companies as Bloglines have great aggregators.
3.Tagging and Social Bookmark, include sites such as Delicous, which hold your bookmarks on a personalised web page.

These are just a few instances of what 2.0 is supposed to be. The idea of sharing information with similar networks and groups. These groups can be to discuss libraries such as this blog). They allow a voice and are predominantly free, unless you want the improved product. Web 2.0 that provide standard and 'porsche' products could be seen to be something like 37 signals, which provides products like basecamp which 'Turns project management and collaboration on its head. Instead of Gantt charts, fancy graphs, and stats-heavy spreadsheets, Basecamp offers message boards, to-do lists, simple scheduling, collaborative writing, and file sharing. Tens of thousands agree it's a better way.'

Unlike web 1.0, individuals and not large organisations are empowered (by tools as well inflated IPO's). I'm not saying 'blogging saved my soul' or anything so evangelical. But web 2.0 applications are allowing small groups of individuals to talk to each other.

As for the bubble 2.0, I'm sure it will happen to some companies. The blog red eye, made a recent comment that :-
As more and more entrepreneurs start building what Fred Wilson referred to as second derivative companies, I think they run a big risk of designing a product/service that is targeted at too small of an audience. Too many companies are targeting an audience of 53,651. That’s how many people subscribe to Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch blog feed. I’m a big fan of Techcrunch – and read it every day. However, the Techcrunch audience is NOT a mainstream America audience.'

This is true. It's not totally mainstream. Yet. But, uptake of all new technologies do take time. I mean in 1996 when jeff Bezos introduced us to buying books online, who thought it would ever take off.

Also, many web 1.0 companies such as Yahoo in buying Flickr and Delicous may have paid premium prices for them, but they are looking at a more social networking form of searching. This can be seen with there social search engine of My web.

Anyhow, if there is a crash, I would like to believe some framework will still be left in tact, in which some excellent tools can help end users. But perhaps i'm like John Lennon when he sang:-
'Perhaps i'm a dreamer. But i'm not the only one. I hope some day you can join us. And the world can live as one.'

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