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Some thoughts on Web 2.0

September 27th, 2009 2 comments

With the technology and design of Web 2.0 users can actively participate and produce content instead of just passively viewing content to create a more effective means to share information.  Such interactions have changed the way we think of our online space and perhaps media in general both new and old.  In his article “What is Web 2.0?Tim O’Reilly founder of O’Reilly Media attempts to provide us with a working definition of the term itself.  He states in an earlier article “Not 2.0?” that some believe that the term Web 2.0 is simply a “marketing hype — bumper sticker is a better way to say it” and in some ways it is.  It is a buzzword like most memes, but it does point the viewer in the right direction.  To gain a better understanding of this somewhat misleading term O’Reilly provides us with some examples of the themes that have changed with the evolution of the web from 1.0 to 2.0 DoubleClick, Ofoto, Akama, mp3.com, Britannica Online, personal websites, evite, domain name speculation, page views, screen scraping, publishing, content management systems, directories (taxonomy), and stickiness being Web 1.0.  (Some of these appear to have changed to embrace newer technologies this article was posted September 2005 which shows the increased effectiveness of Web 2.0) Google AdSense, Flickr IBitTorrent, Napster, Wikipedia, blogging, upcoming.org and EVDB, search engine optimization, cost per click, web services, participation, wikis, tagging (“folksonomy”), and syndication being Web 2.0.  O’Reilly explains that “Web 2.0 is the era when people have come to realize that it’s not the software that enables the web that matters so much as the services that are delivered over the web.”

Websites like Universe and We Feel Fine provide a whole new dialogue between users. We Feel Fine, by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar, records when users type how they are feeling into their blogs to create a sort of map of human emotion.  We Feel Fine describes itself as “an artwork authored by everyone. It will grow and change as we grow and change, reflecting what’s on our blogs, what’s in our hearts, what’s in our minds.” Universe by Jonathan Harris allows you to track people, places, concepts, or anything else you can imagine.  Universe’s mission statement concludes that “In Universe, as in reality, everything is connected. No event happens in isolation. No company exists in a vacuum. No person lives alone. Whereas news is often presented as a series of unrelated static events, Universe strives to show the broader narrative that contains those events.”  The connections offered with both spaces are incredible.

In his lecture Michael Wesch a professor at Kansas State University mentions Youtube, and perhaps other social networks as well, as a means to “create connection without constrain.” Youtube, Facebook, Myspace, etc. allows users to share their identity, or the small slice of their identity that it is most effective for them to reach their goals at that moment.   Similarly danah boyd, Social Media Researcher at Microsoft Research New England, states, “What makes social network sites unique is not that they allow individuals to meet strangers, but rather that they enable users to articulate and make visible their social networks.” We can then use these new interactive services available with Web 2.0 to collaborate and interact with others to create meaningful conversation.