By Kevin Yank

Free Video: Recognizing Web 2.0

By Kevin Yank

I’ve just put up a free video of the slides from my talk, Recognizing Web 2.0, which I delivered recently at a meeting of the Victorian Association for Library Automation (VALA).

The following is republished from the Tech Times #153.

In the week between being asked to speak on the subject of Web 2.0 and delivering the talk, I spent a lot of time turning over in my head the loose collection of concepts that have come to form the foundation for Web 2.0.

I’ve covered what Web 2.0 is about in the past; however, presenting this talk to a largely non-technical audience meant taking a fresh look at these ideas. As I assembled my slides, here’s what I came up with:

  • sites as applications

    The progress of browser technology has enabled developers to produce richer user experiences that, in some cases, enable web sites to take the place of desktop applications, with the benefit that your data is stored online and is accessible anywhere you can get Internet access.

  • user participation and the wisdom of crowds

    The Long Tail would suggest that web businesses should be targeting as wide a market as possible, but there are limits to the in-house expertise of any one company. Consequently, we are seeing a trend of successful web applications that generate some or all of their content as a by-product of user participation.

    In some cases, sites even release control of their navigation structures, allowing users to generate a Folksonomy through content tagging. The best and most successful examples of these extract from the “selfish” activities of individual users some valuable result for all users, thus overcoming the so-called “1% rule.”

  • open data and services

    It has become accepted practice for any site that expects users to input valuable information to provide some convenient and automated means to extract that information from the site in a standard format for use in other contexts. Feeds, Microformats, and APIs are all examples of this trend.

That’s all fine as far as it goes, but I still felt like there must be something more, some unifying principle that ties together these disparate concepts, a central idea that is important enough to justify the name “Web 2.0.” It finally came to me on the evening of the talk, as I sat awaiting the arrival of the organizer of the event.

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.

I had just enough time to whip out my laptop and add a couple of extra points to my slides before it was time to begin, and as eyes lit up in the audience I knew I’d hit on something.

  • fremo

    After all the hype-talk about W-2.0 it’s about time we seriously cut through the c%#p.
    These three point mentioned here are what it is all about.
    Forget technology, forget colors and borders and pop-ups and draggable boxes. when it comes down to what really matters, it’s the users perception of what a site has to offer.
    If it works for them it’s ok.

    They (our users) want a ‘rich’ site and they want the advice and knowledge of fellow users.
    If this is W-2.0, well that’s nice.
    Call it what you want, just make it happen.

  • LiQ

    Finally, some video for this dyslectic :P Thank you. Keep it up, more multimedia.

    But isn’t Web 2.0 just an extra wide tube which you can send your Internets through? It would be helpful, I just recieved an Internet send by my colleague yesterday.

  • finaddict

    Thank you for the education, I found this presentation to be very informative. My only comments are more towards the production of the video rather than your descriptions of Web 2.0. First, I was a bit dissapointed that the video contains only power point slides and not you. A lot of meaning can be conveyed by way of facial expressions which are obviously lacking in this video. Second, the volume of the audio fluctuates drastically at points as if to suggest you’re moving towards and away from some microphone (I can’t know for sure due to item one above!). Perhaps you can wear a microphone so its distance from you is constant as you move around the room. Just food for thought. Thanks again.

  • What an awesome video. I’m glad I took the time off to watch this. Thanks Kevin!

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  • mytwopence

    Web 2 will destroy net neutrality, forget all the bells and whistles we shall get . Governments around the world will use this as a means to tax the internet and control content.

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  • John Rothko

    As always a pleasure to read and listen to your articles, Kevin. Really an eye-opener because I heard lots of nonsense about Web 2.0, which is understandable as the name is pretty abstract. In any case, I can live with this explanation of web 2.0 and you might have made history, my boy :-)

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