March 11, 2007 |
As a reader of The Economist, I consume pieces tinged with plenty of politics. But I also come across some really great pieces about technology. And what d’ya know? The fifth story in line has naught to do with governmental workings and much do with Web 2.0. Really, the term is even in the subtitle. (Please note: To read the full-contents of the referred-to article, you’ll be required to produce US$8.95 for the online version only.)
Andreas Kluth, the mind behind the roughly 750 words about our lovely, growing Internet version two-point-zero in The World In 2007, spouts a lot that a fan of the new dotcom boom wouldn’t be too happy with but would be hard pressed to argue against.
Kluth mentions the vapidity of the term Web 2.0, used by some to denote user-generated content sites while others attribute the badge to social networking. “Is the word “social in the business plan? Web 2.0,” Kluth muses.
One can say that his analysis is oversimplified. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t easy to argue that the proponents of “Web 2.0” are making much too much of the joyride. It’s no hard task to point out the holes in something that isn’t a solid, singular thing. Web 2.0 has too many legs to count. Can anyone describe it in one shot?
The “new Web” shouldn’t be thought of as fluff, no. That description just isn’t accurate. And my feeling after reading Kluth’s piece is that he is aware that such a label would be wrong to attach to Web 2.0. I don’t believe Web 2.0 is mere figment. It’s not. I don’t think it is something that’s been created only out of words and dreams. But I do think that there are those who paint it as far bigger than it is or ever will be. The same goes for its naysayers.
Web 2.0 is as real as the first iteration of the net, and like its predecessor once did, it is now living itshigh life. There are buckets of startups down every alley in SV, just like in the “old days”. Most will die out; some will live to see their acquisition; and a select few will stay solo and eventually try to make it in the “real world,” where, once again, most don’t.
Still, people try to pin Web 2.0 as one particular thing. A portion is adamant that Web 2.0 is social networking and all the talkers who say otherwise are just being ridiculous. It’s vice versa for the guys and gals hootin’ and tootin’ for web applications written in Ruby. Others are all about YouTube and MySpace declaring everyone else either a poseur or has lost touch and muddied the Web 2.0 waters.
I think the fight for the title is ridiculous, to be perfectly honest. To me, Web 2.0 is just a simple progression of the Internet. It’s all of the things mentioned in the last paragraph. It’s television and music on your mobile phone. It’s IPTV. It’s video chat. It’s podcasting. It’s photo sharing. It’s community building. It’s blogging. It’s 3G. It’s 4G. It’s social gaming. And more. A lot more.
So it’d be good to stop trying to claim it and just enjoy it, no?