Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Web 2.0 Clarifications...

If "Web 2.0" is the generic term used to describe websites that rely on social networking and content that is generated by its users, then some clarifications need to be made to the results of Michael Calore's poll for best and worst Web 2.0 sites.

First of all, when you think of Web 2.0 sites, think of MySpace or Facebook - the two most prominent social networking sites in cyberspace. Each member posts a profile, photos, blogs, audio and video clips, and just about whatever else they feel like publishing on the internet. Such sites typically have millions of contributors, are valued in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, and yet often have only two dozen or so employees.

Some other notables include YouTube for videos, Digg for news, Wikipedia for encyclopedic entries, Flickr for photos, and for tags.

So why is it that on the people's choice list Google Spreadsheets and Google Calendar appear as favorite Web 2.0 sites? How long can the discussion of what constitutes a Web 2.0 site really go on? It's been years already, yet people still seem to miss the point and throw the Web 2.0 label onto just about any new website or technology that gets developed.

Why not consider Microsoft a Web 2.0 company since it maintains a discussion board? Or perhaps should be classified as Web 2.0 because once in a while people can have an online chat with a government official?

Give me a break. There is a big difference between Microsoft and MySpace, just as there are fundamentally different philosophies behind NBC and YouTube. The former are companies that create their products in-house and maintain authoritarian control over it, while the latter set up open forums where anybody can basically create and publish whatever they want (as long as it is not illegal), and rely on The People for content, regulation, and marketing.

And P.S. - The People usually do a better job.


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