Down with Web 2.0

Carl Weinschenk

Since this blog covers VoIP, interactivity and other emerging technology platforms, it would be natural for us to be big fans of Web 2.0.

 

We're not.

 

That doesn't mean, however, we are not big fans of VoIP, video streaming, wikis, blogs and any other applications that combine different communications platforms or work best if more than one person creates the content.

 

What we don't like is the term Web 2.0.

 

In fact, we couldn't agree more with the sentiments voiced by Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited with creating the Web (it must be fairly difficult going through life identified in that manner). In essence, Berners-Lee says that Web 2.0 is an indefinite term that essentially means anything its users want. It doesn't really stand for anything.


 

As people who cover technology for a living, we are aware that many things the lab boys come up with can be assigned two definitions: theirs and the one for the marketers. This doesn't happen with bits-and-bytes platforms. It's hard for the marketing folks to redefine Asynchronous Transfer Mode or Frame Relay.

 

But what about those things that exist in a gray area? What exactly are "highly interactive platforms"? What single element must be present for a network to be "next-generation"? Even "high-definition video" can be a bit misleading: Would a television manufacturer not use the term if its products fell, say, a few pixels short of fulfilling the textbook definition established by various industry groups? We think not.

 

Web 2.0 fits this little game perfectly. Certainly, there are a million applications out there that use innovative technologies to push the envelope and provide experiences that weren't possible before. They all have their own specific and highly descriptive names, however.

 

Web 2.0 is too indefinite, too nebulous and, most importantly, too all-inclusive to be meaningful. The downside is that the truly innovative initiatives are dragged down into this sea of imprecision by those that are familiar ideas gussied up with a fresh coat of marketing hype.

 

Up with innovative and entrepreneurial applications and services. Down with Web 2.0.



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