Buzzwords 2.0

While the 1990’s Internet buzzwords reflected technological and marketing forces powering the Web economy by targeting Internet “users

As part of its 10 year anniversary “party”, CNET made a “Top 10 Buzzwords” list from the 1990’s original Internet boom:

1) Dot-Bomb
2) New Economy
3) Mindshare
4) Paradigm Shift
5) Bandwidth
6) Eyeballs
7) Offline
8) Brick-and-Mortar
9) Y2K
10) Sync-Up

There is no shortage of buzzwords this second time around as well, and now buzz phrases have joined the lexicon:

1) “The consumer is in control”
2) “_______________ is the new black”
3) Long Tail
4) Stealth Mode
5) Mash-Up Remix
6) Tag Clouds
7) Folksonomy
8) Wiki
9) Citizen Journalism
10) Google-it

While the 1990’s buzzwords reflected technological and marketing forces powering the Web economy by targeting Internet “users”, today’s buzzwords celebrate the empowerment of individual “citizens” to create their own Web experience. Andrew Keen at The Weekly Standard muses about the social underpinnings of today’s Web culture while alluding to utopian Marxist philosophies:

So what, exactly, is the Web 2.0 movement...It worships the creative amateur: the self-taught filmmaker, the dorm-room musician, the unpublished writer. It suggests that everyone — even the most poorly educated and inarticulate amongst us — can and should use digital media to express and realize themselves…Empowered by Web 2.0 technology, we can all become citizen journalists, citizen videographers, citizen musicians.

Empowered by this technology, we will be able to write in the morning, direct movies in the afternoon, and make music in the evening. Just as Marx seduced a generation of European idealists with his fantasy of self-realization in a communist utopia, so the Web 2.0 cult of creative self-realization has seduced everyone in Silicon Valley. The movement bridges counter-cultural radicals of the '60s such as Steve Jobs with the contemporary geek culture of Google's Larry Page. Between the book-ends of Jobs and Page lies the rest of Silicon Valley, including radical communitarians like Craig Newmark (of, intellectual property communists such as Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig, economic cornucopians like Wired magazine editor Chris "Long Tail" Anderson, and new media moguls Tim O'Reilly and John Batelle.

The social Web is seducing VCs: Sequoia Capital has invested $11.5 million in YouTube, attracted to its user generated content angle. "We are very excited to be involved with YouTube at a time when consumers are poised to benefit from all the consumer electronics available. The demand for user-generated content continues to grow exponentially," Roelof Botha, Sequoia Capital partner beamed.

But are YouTube users really demanding more amateur, "citizen" clips, or are they looking for mainstream, professionally produced entertainment? While the YouTube slogan is "Broadcast Yourself", its users prefer to watch videos, rather than upload them, and the videos they want to watch are overwhelmingly broadcast television network clips, rather than fellow users' original videos. The pirated clip of the NBC produced "Saturday Night Live" video, "Lazy Sunday", garnered more than 5 million views at YouTube, before NBC demanded its removal from YouTube. Regardless of the type of video, the average YouTube user is watching the content, not generating it; while more than 35 million videos are viewed daily, only 35,000 are uploaded, according to YouTube. YouTube's very low ratio of upload activity to viewing activity is similar to low contribution ratios across many Web 2.0 user generated content sites, such as tagging sites and local review sites.

While the low cost and democratic appearance of user-generated content is appealing, the sustainability of user generated content models is dependent upon users generating content.

What words are you buzzing about? Join the conversation: “Talk Back” below to share your Web 2.0 buzzwords.


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