Monday, June 18, 2007
The phrase itself is attributed to O'Reilly media, the company who coined it in 2003. Subsequently, the first Web 2.0 conference, which was held in 2004, brought it into widespread public consciousness. A series of conferences hosted by O'Reilly media has made the term even more popular than ever and facilitated the adoption of it by many industry pundits. The term as it has come to be used by O'Reilly media, refers to what many in the Internet industry perceive to be the second wave of Web-based communities and hosted services, following the first wave of communities which flourished during the initial Internet boom. These web sites encompass social networking sites, wiki sites and folksonomies - all of which share the trait of encouraging and facilitating content collaboration and sharing among its many users.
Perhaps some of the confusion surrounding the use of the term Web 2.0 stems from the fact that it does not actually signify a change or an update to the technical specification of the World Wide Web as we have come to know it. Instead it more appropriately describes the widespread changes that many systems developers have implemented in the way that they use the existing web platform. The founder of O'Reilly media, Tim O'Reilly has himself termed it a business revolution in the computer industry that was caused by the move to the Internet as a platform. He further goes on to say that attempts to come to grips with the rules for success on that new platform is an integral part of Web 2.0.
To further illustrate the differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, it may help to view Web 1.0 as primarily focused on the connectivity between computers and a way to make technology work better for computers, while Web 2.0 strives to link people together and make technology work better for people.
While some people would disagree with this last illustration - and indeed claim that the opposite is actually more accurate - the fact remains that the Web 2.0 is increasingly reliant on the varied input from its users and the dividing line between people and technology is becoming more and more blurred as time goes on.
While computer mediation is still - and will probably remain for the foreseeable future - an integral part of the new paradigm, the utilization of the collective input from its users will bring about a continuous improvement of the particular application based on the same users' interaction with it.
The controversy rages on as to the validity of the term Web 2.0, but by all indications it seems that it is here to stay.
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