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"Web 2.0" Questions Dominate the Fall Conference Season

From Dion Hinchcliffe's "Is Web 2.0 Really About the Web, or Us?" to "What's Next After AJAX, RIAs, and Web 2.0?"

AJAXWorld Magazine publisher Jeremy Geelan writes: When Web 2.0 Journal editor-in-chief Dion Hinchcliffe asked recently 'Is 'Web 2.0' Really About the Web, or Us?' he touched a vein. Peter Thoeny, founder TWiki.org and StructuredWikis, joins the discussion.

"Is Web 2.0 really about the Web, or us?" Hinchliffe wrote. "The rise of architectures of participation, which make it easy for users to contribute content, share it -- and then let other users easily discover and enrich it --  is central to Web 2.0 sites like MySpace, YouTube, Digg, and Flickr. But this is still just another aspect in the way that we, ourselves, have changed the way we use the Web.?

Hinchcliffe reminded his readers: "Not only have we gained 950 million new Internet users in the last ten years, but a great many of them use the Internet differently now too, with a hundred million of them or more directly shaping the Web by building their own places on the Web with blogs and 'spaces,' or by contributing content of virtually infinite variety."

But the real crux of Hinchcliffe's point came later in the essay:

"Power and control is shifting to the new creators.  As the users of the Web produce the vast majority of content (and soon, even software), they are therefore in control of it.  This shift of control has enormous long-term consequences since the Internet tends to route right around whatever central controls try to be applied.  The implications for traditional organizations are fascinating and will only increase as the MySpace generation heads into the workplace in large numbers."
It is for this last-named reason, perhaps, that the entire Fall technology conference season is dominated by "Web 2.0" issues, from AJAXWorld Conference & Expo next month (October 2-4, Santa Clara Convention Center) to the O'Reilly Web 2.0 Conference the following month. As what Hinchcliffe calls "the MySpace generation" becomes the rule in the US workplace and not the exception, Web 2.0 takes on a whole new significance.

But one has only to look at a recent Financial Times article to know that the public understanding of "Web 2.0" is still relatively minimal. Just as the adoption of RSS net-wide is still only about 10%, so it is apparently considered absolutely fine by a world-class newspaper like the FT to publish a piece ("The mashups that let comapnies get creative with data") riddled with curious "near-miss" statements about Web 2.0, such as defining AJAX as "asynchronous JavaScript" with no mention of XML let alone of the  XMLHttpRequest object

The Fall conference season, by producing (as it will) a ripple effect of newspaper, magazine, and online coverage about "Web 2.0" from every conceivable perspective, will mark in my view a definitive watershed in the general public's use of and understanding of Web 2.0. The only question now remains: will that understanding be a commercialized, corrupted version of the Next-Generation Web or will it be truer to Hinchcliffe's vision -- reflected in the title of The New New Internet conference he is championing and co-producing -- of a Web characterized by the rise of architectures of participation, which - argues Hinchcliffe - make it easy for users to contribute content, share it --  and then let other users easily discover and enrich it.

"It's like a large door has been opened behind us and everyone is now just getting a sense of that it's there and where it leads," Hinchcliffe comments.

Peter Thoeny, founder TWiki.org and StructuredWikis LLC, was kind enough to join the discussion. "Tim Berners-Lee actually envisioned the web to be a read-write media," Thoeny notes. "The little known HTTP PUT and DELETE methods are almost never used (for security reasons), but they would allow people to share content. Now we have wikis that enable this in a secure way."

Then he adds, for those puzzled by his reference to wikis as being secure:

"Secure in a sense where the community is policing itself, 'soft security;' whereas in pre-wiki days, the system has to take care of access control."

"Collective content creation is spreading quickly on the web," Thoeny continues. "The latest example is Wired News' "Veni, Vedi, Wiki" article that was edited by the wiki community on a wiki. It was largely a success, unlike the failed Los Angeles Times 'wikitorial,' a collaboratively written editorial, that had to be pulled down soon after it went live because it was being flooded with inappropriate material."

Thoeny adds:

"Wikis are taking off not just on the web, but also behind corporate firewalls. Google, Yahoo, Motorola, Sun and more run large wikis of 50K and more pages. Corporate wikis are largely powered by TWiki , but many other wiki engines used as well, such as SocialText, Confluence and MediaWiki. As we have seen from our book interview on "wikis in the workplace" , wikis historically get deployed in a grassroot manner; they get consolidated into a large corporate wiki once they are at the radar screen of the CTOs and CIOs."

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Most Recent Comments
Euan Semple 09/13/06 09:40:55 AM EDT

I always end my presentations with the view that organisations don't have any choice but to get involved in this stuff as the teenagers of today are the workers of tomorrow and they won't accept anything less. If you don't help them they may not work for you at all or if they do they will start talking about your business out there on the web - they can't help themselves!

AJAXWorld News Desk 09/11/06 01:35:44 PM EDT

When Web 2.0 Journal editor-in-chief Dion Hinchcliffe asked recently 'Is 'Web 2.0' Really About the Web, or Us?' he touched a vein.

AJAXWorld News Desk 09/11/06 01:35:43 PM EDT

When Web 2.0 Journal editor-in-chief Dion Hinchcliffe asked recently 'Is 'Web 2.0' Really About the Web, or Us?' he touched a vein.

Kevin May 09/11/06 08:51:52 AM EDT

I've noticed that travel companies have been urged in recent months to embrace the so-called Web 2.0 tools such as MySpace, YouTube in order to reach the next generation of consumers.

Bob Stumpel 09/11/06 08:38:35 AM EDT

>queZZtion commented on the 11 Sep 2006:
>> Anyone see this article with some forecasts
>> for advertizing spendings on social media?

I'm afraid that the author's extrapolations are based on the wrong parameters: banners (almost dead) and search word marketing (will die soon). She's totally ignoring media convergence and low acceptance of commercial messages within social environments.

Ultimately, I think that Web 2.0's impact on marketing will be centered around an über profile or super filter.

That's probably what people will use & exploit once they get really sick and tired of filling in the same registration forms and profiles again and again, and/or once they start really to worry about the poor privacy within social media environments.

Therefore my predicitions are that a) the provider of such an über profile - and the big winner of the Web 2.0 movement - might well be within the IDENTITY 2.0 category, and that b) the impact on budgets will be much, much bigger.

queZZtion 09/11/06 08:36:41 AM EDT

Anyone see this article with some forecasts for advertizing spendings on social media? View link: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?1004151

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