2.0 refers to a perceived second generation of web-based
communities and hosted services - such as social-networking
sites, wikis and folksonomies - which aim to facilitate
collaboration and sharing between users. The term became
popular following the first O'Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference
the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web,
it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications,
but to changes in the ways software developers and end-users
use the web. According to Tim
O'Reilly, "Web 2.0 is the business revolution in
the computer industry caused by the move to the internet
as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for
success on that new platform."
technology experts, notably Tim Berners-Lee, have questioned
whether one can use the term in a meaningful way, since
many of the technology components of "Web 2.0" have existed
since the early days of the Web."
What is web 2.0?
most of you have some idea of what 'web 2.0' means. I won't
assume every knows, because it was just last month that a
friend from the Film + TV Industry asked me if web 2.0
was 'some new
software that makes it easier to make a website?'
the other end of the scale are web-geeks who sneer at the
term, because aspects of what's now called 'web 2.0' have
been around since the very beginning of the web - eg Forums,
or as they used to be called, Bulletin Boards.
big change for me, as someone who's been making websites
for about a decade, is that what was marginal (eg discussing
some new product online with other geeks at a site run by
some geek) has now become mainstream (where the actual site
selling products encourages open and honest user-reviews).
the former meant that those in-the-know could get some advice,
the latter means that manufacturers are REALLY affected by
while not all of the tools are new, the scale and impact
of this new level of active participation is.
milestones for me aren't what my geek-pals and I are using,
it's when my Mum starts using something.
I cringe as much as anyone when people use the term 'web
2.0' as a buzzword without really understanding what it means,
I think avoiding it or saying it's irrelevant just because
aspects of it's evolution have been around long before the
term is being a bit precious.
guess the problem is that we don't have a satisfactory alternaive.
Some people favour the term 'social web' (hence the title
of this workshop) but then that can also be misinterpreted.
- employers who block sites such as Facebook because
they see them as 'social' and that somehow precludes it having
with web 2.0, being surrounded by a other geeks most of
the time, it's easy to feel like this is old news and not
worth repeating - and yet at a recent AFTRS Centre for
Screen Business Seminar (which I'm very happy is being
reprised for BM!F) they said something like 'Everyone knows
the Long Tail principle, right?' and only about half the
audience DID know, so I'll give a quick summary.
all heard of the 80/20 rule? Aka the Pareto
Principle. It's been accepted as a fairly fundamental
rule of economics and marketing. Turns out though, according
to the Long Tail Principle that at least in marketing terms,
the 80/20 rule doesn't apply when you remove the factor
Chris Anderson has revised some of the statistics
used in the original
the same, and
it's been quite revolutionary.
you remove the need to have
items stocked where people are actually located, many
more items become viable. This is nothing new - think of
catalogues popular over a hundred years ago - they
had many more items
than an actual store could stock. The web has made this
concept even more efficient. eg Nehaflix.com
you offer similar items based on people's previous preferences,
or the preferences of people with similar tastes, they
are more likely to buy that item. eg Amazon 'You Might
Also Like...' - Touching the Void/Into Thin Air example
from Wired article.
you offer people unlimited choices, more people
will buy less mainstream products. Instead
of 80/20 it's more likely to be that 50% of sales
are items that rank
100,000th when millions of options are available -
see diagram to left. eg Amazon, last.fm,
opportunities for independant content developers are
greater as access to market at
very low overheads is enabled, and control of 'eyeballs'
(eg by what is stocked in Target, what is advertised on
television) by a small number of large players is reduced.
of goods and services may improve, as word
of mouth (user reviews) will be more important
than direct advertising
buying decisions - people will buy products more appropriate
to their needs and tastes and NOT just because
they see it in a store or on TV. No wonder
the mainstream media is worried...
are many more implications of the Long Tail, these are just
Generated Content (or
Consumer Generated Media)
Generated Content has been around as long as the web.
(or 'Bulletin Boards' as they used to be called) are
an example of why geeks hate the term 'web
2.0' as they're everything web 2.0 is supposed to be
but they've been around since before the web even had
IS new though is the emphasis on user-generated content,
and the scale of participation in production of content.
above sites vary hugely in what they're about, but they
have one common characteristic - the majority of the
content on the site is created by users. Usually, for
the majority of these are still evolving as business
a profit, that doesn't stop them having actual $$ value
- eg MySpace, YouTube etc.
ultimate in populist media - STOMP, the Straits Times
Online Mobile and Print. The website encourages CitJ's
(citizen journalists) to upload their stories, pictures
by web or MMS.
Singapore, Deputy Editor Felix
that STOMP does not curate - only obscene or otherwise
He was very proud of the CitJ 'scoops' - such as the
reader who sent in photos of his injuries in the recent
Burma uprising, which were then sought-after by the
mainstream world press.
submitted by website readers is even used in the print
verison of the paper (Singapore's main daily newspaper).
Certainly makes you wonder if paid journalists' days
are numbered - or at least, tabloid journalists.
As Felix Soh mentioned, 'We don't like to see any white space on
the site'. A western graphic designer's worst nightmare :P
I will come back
to some of these examples later...