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New World Wide Web?

posted 1 Nov 2010, 03:23 by Sam Mbale

Possibly one of the most useless phrase that's currently
doing the rounds is 'Web 2.0′. I call it useless as
the term implies that there is a new version of the World
Wide Web available, and that us fools left using the old Web
1.0 should probably catch on and make the switch; fortunately
this isn't the case.

The term was coined by O'Reilly Media 2.0 back in 2003, and
was popularised by the first Web 2.0 convention back in 2004
and then aseries of confrences that followed. Eventually it
become adopted by the wider community however when a
customer of mine asked me earlier today to define exactly
what Web 2.0 meant I was stuck; hence the sudden inspiration
for writing this article.

I don't feel bad for not knowing how to define the standard
as even Tim O'Reilly, the man who is credited with creating
the term seems to describe it in an incredibly cryptic and
nondescript way. Apparently "Web 2.0 is the business
revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to
the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the
rules for success on that new platform."

Right, so in English what exactly does this mean? I think
the best way I can describe it is to say that Web 2.0 is a
term used to describe a website that has increased the
overall functionality of the Web; as such, the term can mean
different things to different people. Broadly speaking a
website that provides new and interactive technologies such
as weblogs, social websites, podcasts, RSS feeds and online
web services can fall under the Web 2.0 umbrella.

Personally I think that the phrase is a nonsensical buzzword
which has been coined for no real reason than the fact that
it sounded catchy. Using the phrase in a meaningful way can
be close to impossible since many of the core components of
Web 2.0 have existed from the very earliest days of the web.

For educational purposes I should really go over the typical
characteristics that are used to make up a typical Web 2.0
site and these are as follows:

' Users being able to contribute to the data on a site; A
good example of this is Wikipedia.

' An element of social networking such as MySpace.

It enables users to use applications entirely through a
browser. A web operating system such as Goowy which I
reviewed several months back is a good example of this.

' A smart and user friendly interface; often based on a new
technology such as Ajax.

' An ability for the user to enhance the application or
website as they use it.

Our website design company Refresh Creations often gets
people touting that their websites are categorised as Web
2.0, but when you delve deeper it becomes apparent that they
have simply installed a trivial feature such as a blog to
allow them to make this claim.

Personally, I hate buzzwords and have little time for people
that utilize them when pitching ideas or sales pitches to me.
Therefore it is somewhat unsurprising that I simply don't
'get' Web 2.0 - due to the lack of set standards to what it
actually refers to you can end up making the phrase mean
practically anything you want it to.

Even after researching this article for best part of an hour
I'm still a little bit unsure as to what the phrase actually
means and I don't think this is my failure to grasp the
concept but rather the fact that it hasn't been correctly,
accurately or solidly defined.

About the Author:

Chris Holgate writes a weekly article of all things tech
related.  He is a copyrighter of the online Ink and Toner
website Refresh Cartridges . These articles can be
found in an archive at