Web 2.0 = a piece of jargon

During a podcast interview (transcript here) last week with Scott Laningham of IBM developerWorks, the father of the Web Tim Berners-Lee offered his view on the term "Web 2.0": LANINGHAM: You know, with Web 2.

During a podcast interview (transcript here) last week with Scott Laningham of IBM developerWorks, the father of the Web Tim Berners-Lee offered his view on the term "Web 2.0":

LANINGHAM: You know, with Web 2.0, a common explanation out there is Web 1.0 was about connecting computers andmaking information available; and Web 2 is about connecting people and facilitating new kinds of collaboration.  Is thathow you see Web 2.0?

BERNERS-LEE:  Totally not.  Web 1.0 was all about connecting people.  It was an interactive space, and I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means.  If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people.  But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.

And in fact, you know, this Web 2.0, quote, it means using the standards which have been produced by all these people working on Web 1.0.  It means using the document object model, it means for HTML and SVG and so on, it's using HTTP, so it's building stuff using the Web standards, plus Java script of course.

So Web 2.0 for some people it means moving some of the thinking client side so making it more immediate, but the idea of the Web as interaction between people is really what the Web is. That was what it was designed to be as a collaborative space where people can interact.

Now, I really like the idea of people building things in hypertext, the sort of a common hypertext space to explain what the common understanding is and thus capturing all the ideas which led to a given position.  I think that's really important. And I think that blogs and wikis are two things which are fun, I think they've taken off partly because they do a lot of the management of the navigation for you and allow you to add content yourself.

But I think there will be a whole lot more things like that to come, different sorts of ways in which people will be able to work together.

The semantic wikis are very interesting.  These are wikis in which people can add data and then that data can then be surfaced an  sliced and diced using all kinds of different semantic Web tools, so that's why it's exciting the way people, things are going, but I think there are lots of new things in that vein that we have yet to invent.



For Berners-Lee, the Web is just the Web (no versioning) and has always been about interaction between people online. About a year ago, O'Reilly came up with his lengthy exposition on what is Web 2.0,  which basically describes how the Web has evolved over the last ten years ( by 2015 we will have Web 3.0).



Gavin Clarke of the Register.com follows up on Berners-Lee's comments with a story that catalogs many of the other 2.0s (Office, Enterprise, SOA. lunch, etc.) and points to a "plethora of me-too business plans, marketing pitches and analyst reports exploiting the nebulous phrase" as a sign of the times. Indeed, the 2.0 proliferation is simply a natural effect of human intelligence at work--marketers, conference creators, journalists, pundits and lexicographers all trying to capture  themes, the essense of movements in time and give them names that have iconic, instant recognition, although the deeper meaning will be in the eye of the beholder.   Here's a modest proposal for solving the versioning problem: Let's just call it Web Y15, given WWW was developed at CERN by Berners-Lee in 1991.

See also: Dana Gardner's "Scrap Web 2.0, yes, but embrace Knowledge 2.0 surely"


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