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Web 2.0

Web 2.0. You may or may not have heard of it. I've been hearing more and more about it over the past few weeks, so I thought I'd take the time to talk a little bit about it.

What is it?

Over here is a very succint, and yet, technical description:

Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an "architecture of participation," and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences.

What does it actually mean?

Well, the internet that we've had for the past decade or so is Web 1.0, where the web pages and sites were (are) often static and unable to change according to user participation (except for bulletin boards and forums, which aren't really the actual websites themselves, but added functionality to static sites). Web 2.0 changes that by introducing web-based applications which allow for visitor interaction that changes the content of a website. As more people become members of a site that uses these applications, the more functional it becomes. The content is organised and displayed by the members in such a way that it reflects their feelings about that content.

Various terms have been created that explain what it's all about, like social networking and social bookmarking. Dating and friendship (social networking) websites started this with Web 1.0, but now Web 2.0 takes it a step forward by allowing members to vote for popularity of personality or interests. You can also store your bookmarks on social bookmarking sites, allowing you to share your favourite websites with others, and involve entire communities around like-minded bookmarks.

A lot of this sharing and integration is created through the tagging of content or links, allowing searching via those tags. I've been implementing it on this website for the past few weeks, by using Categories. These are 'tags', allowing for the searching of material related to whatever tags you want to search for. You can do this for the site, for all the blogs, or for communities that facilitate this throughout their member's sites.

There are already various sites that are allowing the bringing together of all this information into something often called 'My Page', allowing you to bring together information according to your personal requirements. This can be based on RSS feeds for specific news or content, tags for content and files, and even the sharing of contacts and other websites.

Personally, I love it! I have always loved web technology that inspires and creates communities, and Web 2.0 takes the internet into a real community-oriented medium. Major media is going to have to change the way they do things, moving away from static information and allowing fluid user-driven information. Communities are forming and will become more popular, and the internet will become something closer to having various 'neighbourhoods'.

I remember the relatively early days where web companies tried forming neighbourhoods of like-minded websites. They were often popular, but were static rather than dynamic. Unless you advertised or promoted your website in some way, it was highly unlikely that your site would become a strong member of that community. And even then, if you promoted it, you'd more likely make your site stronger, rather than the community it was part of. The new Web 2.0 sites are focusing on content throughout the community, and not the sites.

I've added a new heading to my blogroll – Web 2.0. Those blogs that provide more information about Web 2.0 will be listed there. Enjoy

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