During the long process of specifying, implementing and rolling out the new ZDNet UK that's before you today, we kept returning to the fashionable subject of Web 2.0.
We were sure we had all the components — interactivity, multimedia, server-side intelligence — but not sure exactly what Web 2.0 was. We decided not to worry, to concentrate instead on moving past our magazine heritage and becoming a true part of today's internet.
This internet is no longer a place where the loudest voice carries the furthest. If you know what you're talking about and are prepared to talk about it, you'll be heard. Sharing, not shouting, is the order of the day.
One part of ZDNet UK has not changed and will not change. We're about helping you do your job — and you know better than anyone else on the planet what you need to make it work. Now, you can tell us and everyone else what really matters.
This new freedom has its responsibilities. It's the end of the excuse that "you can say what you like, nobody listens". It's no longer good enough to shrug your shoulders and shake your head when confronted with madness, stupidity or short-sighted greed. Whenever you hear someone talking rubbish — governments, companies or journalists — if they mess it up you can and must point it out.
As EC Commissioner Reding says, "Individuals thus contribute directly to internet content and innovation themselves and, as citizens, they have an increasing interest in participating in the debate about how the internet can and should be run. This also increases the need to raise awareness on security issues and make all citizens and businesses part of a more efficient chain of responsibility."
All terribly serious. Luckily, it's also tremendous fun. Communities aren't about the soulless exchange of information in carefully measured transactions. They're about giving what you can and taking what you need, and building a society that's bigger than its members. Open source has proved what can happen when you restore human principles to an environment controlled by the mighty — and the power that online has to effect that restoration. Being part of that is the best adventure going.
Web 2.0? We've worked it out. It's people.