What exactly is Web 2.0?

Here are two answers:

How does Web 2.0 differ from the regular internet? Some of the problems that people decribe with the early internet is that it was too based on older media, like TV, newspapers, even radio. And it wasn’t enough based on interactivity and personalization. The talk is that there is a new internet coming or in place now (depending on who you ask) that is about the individual user, that is about community, and that is about seamless individualization.

From Kevin’s notes on the page with the video:

Throughout history, each new medium (books, radio, cinema, television) has first been used to produce content equivalent to that found in existing media. The classic example is radio, which was first used to broadcast radio plays—content based on the familiar medium of theater. Eventually, however, out of the unique strengths of a medium will arise a new kind of content: one that doesn’t mimic what came before, but instead delivers an experience that would never have been possible before. Web 2.0 is that stage in the evolution of the Web as a medium.

It turns out that discussion about Web 2.0 can actually make some people pretty emotional. See Kathy Sierra’s post on this – she discusses the difference between Web 2.0 being a buzzword (just a word) and jargon (a word that means something deeper to the people who understand the field). I wrote a bit about jargon in my Quantum Speech post.

And to summarize Seth’s post, the enhancement of Web 2.0 can come from data (Web 3.0) or from intra-people connections (Web 4.0). Seth writes that Tim Berners-Lee defines the future Web 3.0 as a semantic web – where computers can analyze all the data in the world, and specifically all the data relevant to you. Then Seth introduces his version of Web 4.0, in which different gadgets and information systems can talk to each other, and in a way that’s not top-down, but as he describes, is like a tribe – “smaller, far more intense connections with trusted colleagues and their activities.”

Enjoy the future.

It’s interesting that in both Kevin’s talk and Seth’s post, the best way to describe the future is by examples: “What will we be able to do with Web 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0?” Why do you think that is – that we need examples to explain something we don’t yet know? …. Aha, it’s because people think in stories. Because people live in stories and think in stories.

Update: BTW, you can tell that people have strong opinions on the term Web 2.0 if you read Kathy Sierra’s article on the difference between a buzzword and useful jargon for “Web 2.0”.


  1. Posted Friday February 2, 2007 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I think Web 2.0 is more about hype than anything else… :)

  2. Posted Saturday February 3, 2007 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Possible! That’s why I wanted to write about it. Everyone has a different view.