But now imagine how your comparison would seem to a future society. No, scratch that, how useful an analogy would ‘the web is like a library’ seem to today’s younger generation? The answer is, not very useful at all. Because, while the older generation still think of the web primarily as a source of information, another generation are logging on to social networking sites. The most popular of these (MySpace) already has 100 million members and receives more hits per week than Google. Moreover, we have other sites like Flickr, Wikipedia and trends like blogging. These may seem to fit more easily into the old description of the Internet as a place to store and retrieve information, but it is many-to-many communication, not one-to-many communication typical of traditional media. In a nutshell, the primary hook these sites offer is not information, but socialisation.
The fact that the Internet is evolving from a collection of static pages into a vehicle for software services that foster self-publishing, participation and collaboration has given rise to yet another meme propogating amongst the technophiles: Web 2.0.
There is another universally-acknowledged truth. As soon as you introduce a new buzzword, marketing departments will apply it to the business they represent, even if that business bares little of the qualities that defined the buzzword in the first place. You can see why web-based companies would prefer to be known as ‘Web 2.0’ rather than 1.0. The former says ‘new and improved, “next-gen”‘. The latter speaks of obsolescence. But like it or not many buzzword-addicted startups are not Web 2.0 and the term has been overused to the point where some wonder if it means anything anymore.| ← Previous | | | Next → |