Web 2.0 – Has the term outlived its life?

Frequently I am asked the question “What work you done on Web 2.0?” and most of the time I do not know how to answer it. Invariably I start by trying to explain what I understand by Web 2.0.

If you recollect, the term Web 2.0 had been coined in the year 2004 by Dale Doherty and Tim O’Reilly. The theme of the first Web 2.0 conference was “Web as Platform”. Though, back then, the term was dismissed my many as marketing hype (here is an example), there was a slow acceptance. Gartner initially ignored it but finally recognized its existence in 2006 and included it their hype cycle.

Unfortunately, there was no standard definition of the term. I used to go by the explanation by the originator, which is nicely explained in the post “What is Web 2.0?“. In that Tim O’Reilly had identified 7 characteristics:

  1. The Web As Platform
  2. Harnessing Collective Intelligence
  3. Data is the Next Intel Inside
  4. End of the Software Release Cycle
  5. Lightweight Programming Models
  6. Software Above the Level of a Single Device
  7. Rich User Experiences

It has been about 3 and a half years since the post and I think it requires a relook. We have specific terms covering each of these concepts.

From (2005) To (2009)
The Web as Platform Cloud Computing
Harnessing Collective Intelligence
Data is Next Intel Inside
Social Computing and Sharing
End of Software Release Cycle
Lightweight Programming Models
Agile Methodology
Software Above the Level of a Single Device
Rich User Experience
Multi-Channel User Experience

To this you need to add the technology terms like:

  • RIA (Rich Internet Application)
  • WOA (Web-Oriented Architecture)
  • Mashup

Also, you have many many variants of Web 2.0 like Enterprise 2.0, Travel 2.0 etc. Today I read an article from HBR talking about Finance 2.0. I have even seen the term Women 2.0!

I suggest that you do this exercise. Think of any word – add 2.0 to it – Google it. Can you find a word which does not give you a site explaining what 2.0 of that word means?

Therefore, if you are asked “What work you done on Web 2.0?” the question may refer to any of these points.

So, what do you think? Has the term outlived its life?

3 Responses to “Web 2.0 – Has the term outlived its life?”
  1. setandbma says:

    Thanks Ourba for your compliment.

    User generated content falls under the category of “Social Computing and Sharing”. You are absolutely right about Wikipedia – it is clasic example of what web 2.0 can achieve.

    Wikipedia contains a nice page on “User Generated Content” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User-generated_content

    Significant percentage of the web 2.0 business model depends on attracting “User Generated Content” for generating revenue. Many of the existing enterprises tried the same without too much success.

    Successful use of the strategy is very visible and spectacular (like Wikipedia). However, success rate is very very low.

  2. Ourba Ganguly says:

    Hi Udayan!,

    Ref: “Web 2.0 – Has the term outlived its life?”

    I am a new audience to your blog!……in a few words “man, u write awesome!”.
    WRT your blog, many have defined web 2.0 in various ways…still, i feel that thoughts like “user generated content” is missing…. isn`t it like democracy?…wherein users have the right to choose! something like (for,by and of the people?)….wikipedia is a burning example of it…still i don`t see anyone highlighting the concept of “user generated concept”….wht r ur thoughts on this?…( i know u have a busy schedule…i would feel elated if u answer this…)

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] However, these approaches are different from the original meaning associated with the term web 2.0. The term was conceived to explain the functioning of those companies which thrived by harnessing the collective intelligence of the user and using the web as the platform. It you have not read the article “What is Web 2.0?“ by O’Reilly you should read it. You can also have a look at how the 7 terms identified by him has transformed over the years – “Web 2.0 – Has the term outlived its life?“. […]

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