You witnessed, were a victim of or have at least heard about the bursting of the dot com bubble in the fall of 2001. Fortunes that had been made overnight were lost overnight.
The sky was falling. It was a very scary time for a lot of people. Some said that the World Wide Web was just a flash-in-the-pan idea that had been over-hyped and that the crash was irrefutable proof of that fact.
There were, however, some survivors of the 2001 dot com bust. The survivors had a few important commonalities and there were those who insisted that the World Wide Web was more important than ever and had a very bright future indeed.
One of those who saw the results of the 2001 dot com bust as a ‘glass half full’ rather than a ‘glass half empty’ was a man by the name of Tim O’Reilly. O’Reilly (of O’Reilly Media) met with Dale Dougherty of Media Live International in 2004. Out of that meeting the term ‘Web 2.0’ was born.
The definition that Tim O’Reilly gives for Web 2.0 is: "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.
Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them."
Web 2.0 can be viewed as an upgrade to the World Wide Web. It is still the web but it is a new and improved version of the web.
New technologies such as blogs, social bookmarking, wikis, podcasts and RSS feeds are just a few of the technologies that are helping to shape and direct Web 2.0.
The Web before the dot com crash is often referred to as Web 1.0 now but only since the coining of the term Web 2.0.
Some of the more obvious difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are: DoubleClick replaced by Google AdSense, Britannica Online replaced by Wikipedia, Personal Web Pages replaced by Blogs, Content Management Systems replaced by Wikis and Directories replaced by Tagging.
These are only a very few of the differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 but they are major ones.
You will notice, if you look carefully that the commonality of many of the differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 is that Web 1.0 was driven and controlled by the ‘powers-that-be’ and Web 2.0 is driven by users.
That is a huge difference and the one that is making Web 2.0 more and more user friendly not to mention more and more profitable for just average people. You might even call it a power shift of seismic proportions.
Once the websites that could be accessed on the Internet were built and controlled by only a few and were certainly not ‘interactive’ but today anybody with an idea, a few dollars and just a little know-how can build a Web 2.0 website that is completely interactive and turn it into a money-making enterprise if they choose to.
The technology is there. It is easy to use. It is accessible and it is relatively cheap....some of it is even free.
Many websites that started out as static websites are now adding features like blogs and forums and propelling themselves into the future of Internet commerce. Those websites who continue be ‘old hat’ are falling further and further behind.
Just regular people now expect to be able to ask questions and get answers from websites and they expect websites to be at least somewhat interactive. The Internet has always been and still is a platform for information but with Web 2.0 is has also become a platform for participation.
Let’s look at just a few of the innovations of Web 2.0 and how these innovations have changed the way that all of use the World Wide Web:
Blogs: Blog is a term that is derived from the blending of the two words ‘web’ and ‘log’....Blog. Fairly early in the history of the World Wide Web people could build personal web pages. It is true that not many people did build personal webpages but it was, nonetheless, possible.
Still, these personal webpages were static websites. The owner of the website could post information about himself or his interests but others could only read the information that the owner of the website posted.
He could keep an online journal that he could allow others to read but it was ‘read only’.
Then along came technology. Blogging software was developed. Now those who had personal websites could not only post about themselves, but they could allow their visitors to comment on what had been posted or ask questions. It was a huge advancement.
Because of that technology, today blogging is very big business.
People visit and post to blogs all over the Internet about any and every subject that they are interested in and the owners of these blogs have figured out that they can make their blogs very, very profitable indeed.
Social Bookmarking: Social bookmarking is more or less a by-product of blogging but it is based on the same basic technology.
Social bookmarking sites such as Delicious, allow their users to upload their own favorite site bookmarks so that everybody else in the world can see and use those bookmarks.
When a user uploads his favorite site bookmarks into his online account, a backlink is created to that site. When enough people click on the link, the site that has been book marked gets indexed and gains a rank by search engines.
It is a form of user driven advertisements that is far more successful than any kind of paid-for advertising can ever be.
There are a great many social bookmarking sites on the Internet now and new software is being developed all the time that makes these sites more and more productive as advertising tools and traffic driving tools.
Wiki: A short definition of Wiki is “Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly.”
In short Wiki technology allows editing of material posted on a website by the poster or by others.
The best example of Wiki technology is action on the Internet is Wikipedia. In the old Web 1.0 way to doing things the owner of a website had full control over all material that was posted to the website and only website owners could edit material posted on the website.
With the advent of Web 2.0 that idea has gone the way of the horse and buggy.
RSS Feed: The acronym RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is yet another Web 2.0 feature that allows the web to be driven by people rather than by the powers-that-be. Those who use RSS content use reader or aggregator technology. Users subscribe to these feeds.
The reader or aggregator then checks the user’s website and when the site has new content, it is picked up and sent to the user. That is a rather simplified explanation but that is basically how it works.
A client based reader or aggregator is a stand-alone program that is attached to an existing program such as a web browser or an email reader.
A web-based reader or aggregator makes the user’s feeds available on any computer with web access.
Podcasts or Webcasts: As broadband internet connect connections and wireless networks become more and more common throughout the entire world, the podcast or webcast is gaining in popularity.
While people do still read, they are better at looking and listening to information thanks to television, hence, the advent of podcasts or webcasts.
You can find and tune into podcasts or webcasts on almost any subject imaginable today. Those who have blogs are making use of this technology to sell products and to promote their websites in record numbers.
Web 2.0 is definitely here to stay and those who are still trying to do things the old Web 1.0 way are falling behind this wave of today and of the future. Will there be changes to Web 2.0?
Well, of course, there will be. Web 2.0 is fluid and it is every changing. New technology will be developed and as it is developed people will use it. People are, after all, the driving force of Web 2.0.
And, you might ask, just who will benefit the most from Web 2.0? It will be those who embrace the new technologies as they become available and it will be us...all of us.
The internet no longer belongs to the few and the privileged. Big business has lost its edge. The Internet and Web 2.0 has leveled the playing field. You can read so much information about all of this web 2.0 stuff here.
All of us (you, me and all those who have access to the Internet) can now compete and win.