When you think of Web 2.0 what comes to mind and where will it lead us in the next five years?
How will Web 2.0 modify your leisure time?
How will Web 2.0 change the way you work?
Please be specific and provide examples for discussion.
Thank you!

23 Comments

  1. To me, web 2.0 is threadless.com.
    Threadless is a company that would not exist without web 2.0
    Web 2.0 to me means fully integrating the end user in the continual making of the web site.
    At threadless, people upload designs, vote on designs, upload their own gallery photos of them wearing the shirts, and do other such things.
    In short, web 2.0 to me means interactive collaborative community.

  2. Gordon —
    When most people look at threadless.com they just see a t-shirt company.
    Why is it more than just that for you on an emotional and intellectual level?
    In what way does that site change the way we should think about work and play that most of us are missing right now?
    Is Web 2.0 more about commerce or belonging or social networking?

  3. Are you sure about that perception?
    The first thing I saw when I looked at the site for the very first time was “participate” in big letters. I was very easily able to register and to start voting on designs, up and down, and to discuss them with the hundreds of other users.
    Instead of printing what the people in the company design, they print what the people who are ultimately buying the shirts want.
    To me this would be akin to a restaurant chain having each branch have its own site, with the patrons of the restaurant voting for what goes on and off the menu.
    I think web 2.0 is all about social networking and easy collaboration.

  4. Hi Gordon —
    Okay, my perception is it is a t-shirt site. The first four images on the top of my page are images of t-shirts and the title of the site in my browser window is “Threadless T-Shirts – Designer Clothing Submissions – Tees, Tshirts and T Shirts!” That says “t-shirt website” to me in a pretty strong way.
    😀
    Ah! I just went back there and turned on JavaScript. Now I see more of what you see. I was only seeing the non-scripted stuff. There are even more images of t-shirts now, though…
    So I guess Web 2.0 requires JavaScript to be enabled?
    😉
    Threadless only sells designs from end users? They create no original designs? What do the end user designers get out of it of monetary value beyond a discount? How are existing Copyrights honored and who owns the Copyright on originally submitted pieces for printing?

  5. The only threadless designs that they make are from one of their other sites, which is here. There, people submit one sentence slogans, vote on them, and the best ones get chosen and designed by threadless to get printed.
    The people who get their threadless designs printed get $1,500 cash, $300 in threadless credit, and a one year subscription to the 12 club, which is where they choose one design per month and print exactly as many as there are members of the club.
    The people who submit the work keep the copyright on their artwork.
    Every week 4 new shirts are chosen – which means that every week the company doles out $8000 in ‘cash and prizes’. Pretty good, I think

  6. We are currently experiencing something akin to an electronic Cambrian Explosion. Literally not a day seems to go by without the announcement of a public ‘beta’ for some new Web 2.0 site promising the ability to tag your life. You raise a good point in asking how all of this is going to change our lives? The biggest impact that Web2.0 sites are having on my life is the ability to move a task previousy centered within a local computing evironment to be accessible anywhere at anytime. I use sites like del.cio.us mostly for personal convenience and the ability to access my bookmarks from anywhere. I use del.cio,.us both tocatalogue personal link and to keep track journal artices of interest. I have two del.icio.us acount, one for general use and one that is strictly for cataloguing science content. The social networking aspects of these sites really aren’t the prime motivation for me. RSS feeds and te ability to host my own online RSS aggregtor using Gregarius, has significantly changed the way I gather and assimilate information. I can spend more time reading content rather than navigating to countles sites and adjusting to their myriad presentation styles. Ultimately, I would like to see all local computing functions shifted to the web. This is becoming increasingly possible with AJAX backed websites, which lend a very desktop feel to online applications.

  7. I use a Flickr Pro account to store all my digital photos. Keeping them locally takes up space and is susuceptible to data loss. My girlfriend, Flannery, has enjoyed the community/networking aspects of Flickr. She joins groups and submits photos to them. I like having easy acccess to my tagged photo collection from anywhere. Computers with web access are so pervasive that I can easily intergrate online stored content into my daily personal and work life, sharing links and photos or news with colleagues and friends.

  8. Jonathan —
    Does it concern you direct control of your online account databases are not directly under your control? Does Web 2.0 mean giving up local control in once place to someone else who will provide you access from anywhere?
    Speaking of databases, I saw on your blog you want to backup your WP database. Get Skippy’s WP-CRON and his Backup plugins and your blog’s database will be automagically emailed everyday to the email address of your choice. You can also force a real time backup for emailing or downloading as well.

  9. Does it concern you, Jonathan, that Flickr is slower and not as robust since its takeover by Yahoo?!
    Wouldn’t having the images load from your hosted — professionally hosted not home-laptop hosted — website provider be a safer and faster method of serving images?
    My concern with Web 2.0 is we put our faith too much in outside services that may be more convenient but not necessarily more robust. We also have to non-blindly consider the competing interests of the third party Web 2.0 entities that hold our stuff and when we try to mash them all through our local funnel for coherence and re-servicing we become merely third party callers instead of directed-connected creators.

  10. Lack of direct control is only an issue for me when it sacrifices the ability to customize access and display of content. Most Web2.0 sites offer quite a bit of flexibilty in controlling access to content and its display. One thing I would like to see in Flickr is support for user stylesheets. You can eject a custom stylesheet using Greasemonkey, but this only works for your own browser. Particularly for Pro accounts, it would be nice if there were user editable layouts.
    One of the reasons I initially self-hosted apart from cost was a desire for control. I wante to be able to tweak and tinker with my LAMP setup to my hearts content. Now I a stuck with whatever setup my hosting provider has decided is best.
    Thanks for the wordress DB backup tip, I will check that out!
    I only joined Flickr post-Yahoo, so I can’t compare. The slowness you refer to is in page access. wonder if access to their databse through their API is contrbuting. The open API is a large part of what makes Web2.0 sites great, the ability to syntesize and repacakge the bookmarks/pictures/data collected by a service. There are some interesting and even useful mashups out there. Most Web2.0 companies are experiencing scaling issues at some point in their growt.h Even golden Google has experienced growing pains at various points.
    I like the Flickr interface, I like the ability to tag my photos rather than naming them. I tried hosted solution, however the open source PHP galleries didn’t provide a robust enough feature-set. I dont know but I would speculate that Flickr has at least as much redundancy as a typical hosting provider. I haven’t looked at the contract fine-print, are they liable for data loss?
    Objectively comparing web based services is really quite difficult. I agree that it is a problem. Once you put your eggs in a basket, a large amount of effort is typicaly require to uproot and move. I was reluctant to begin using some of these services for that very reason, I waited awhile, hoping the scene would mature a bit. Im not sure that it has, but I chose some of the leaders in each particular servce sector so I am hoping that I have placed good bets. I religiously read TechCrunch to keep afloat of new Web2.0 happennings, but I haven’t experienced significant buyers remore yet. I triend a number of bookmarking services (RawSugar, Ma.gnolia…) before deciding that Del.icio,us provided the feature set I wanted. Online services evolve much more rapidly than conventional applications can. The time and effort to implement features in a Ruby on Rails or PHP/JS driven site is significanty lower than that required to implement a conventional shipped application. Also its easier to implement new features ‘on-the-fly’. These services may not provide all the features you want right now, but Web2.0 is really still in its infancy. The field is rapidly evolving, I think we will see much more robust software in the future.

  11. Personally, I mostly find “web 2.0” to be little or nothing more than an irritating buzzword. You know, by “thinking outside the box”, they achieved a “paradigm shift” on the “information superhighway”. But I’m cynical that way.

  12. What exactly is Web 2.0?
    I don’t think Web 2.0 has been clearly defined for a majority of Internet users. I’ve seen it, but until I took a look at the definition for Web 2.0, I didn’t really know what it was.
    When I saw Web 2.0, it made me think of new higher speed internet infrastructure. But, that’s Internet 2.
    I think there is confusion about Web 2.0 and Internet 2.
    Do the majority of Internet users know the difference between either?
    I think Lily is right in calling Web 2.0 a buzzword.

  13. Jonathan!
    Thank you for the tremendous detail in your answer.
    If you chose a Virtual Domain hosting setup — like Media Temple Offers — you are in complete and total control of all your hosting needs. You are your own web hosting service. You can resell. You can set up accounts. You install whatever you wish. You have root access. You edit all your DNS entries and re-directs. You are your own coach and player. You run the whole thing through Plesk.
    Flickr — before Yahoo! ruined it — was superfast loading images on site and remotely. Everything was stunningly clean. They updated and revised their server code several times A DAY to make sure everything was tweaked and working well. Now the oldtimer Flickr enthusiasts are looking for the next Flickr so they can move. Oddpost used to be super, too, until Yahoo! bought it and ruined the team and the interface and made it into the “New” Yahoo! mail. Yahoo! bought Overture and ruined a great advertising player. Yahoo! bought Geocities and cheapened it and ruined a brilliant community. The history of Yahoo! is to buy ideas they do not create – sound familiar? — and conform and ruin the spirit of innovation and creative thinking in the process. At least Microsoft has a history of imitation and purchase that leads to greater success under the MSFT umbrella than was had as a lone wolf company howling in the wind.
    I think you’re right Web 2.0 is speeding at us hard and sure and it will mature and become the ordinary normal soon.

  14. Lily!
    I love your Avatar! Did you create it yourself? I was hoping you might choose to use your face found in your “sitting on a pile of vegetables” image. Your expression in that shot is charming and quirky and smart. It’s an even more perfect Avatar.
    I think all the examples you provide of buzz words started at one time as new ideas that quickly found traction and became popular.
    I’d call your examples more archetypes than buzz words because they all have a meaning and a history that can be tracked and quantified.
    When I think of buzz words, I think of words like “I’m the Decider” as something flippant and airy that takes on a hollow life of its own through mockery and people-linked chains of laughter.

  15. Chris —
    “Web 2.0” was coined as the next wave of internet interaction after the Dot Com bust. The first version of the web — 1.0 — was dead and the needed next step — 2.0 — had to be different in order not to repeat the sins of 1.0.
    You’re right not many people know much about 2.0.
    2.0 is moving the paradigm of working alone on one computer to working with and interacting with many others FROM your computer. Databases and software isn’t a local worry any longer as all the vital interaction happens on a secure server beyond your direct control and concern.

  16. David-
    Its unfortunate that Yahoo! seems to be quashing growth and ingenuity upon purchasing a startup. Do they fire the engineering staff or simply put them out to pasture with a Yahoo! polo shirt and $$$$ in the bank?
    I use HostGator.Which specfic type of hosting do you use? Shared are Virtual-Dedicated. Hostgator through Cpanel 10 offers much the same features as Plesk. You can install any script. The customization I was talking about was more the backend Linux environment. For instance I woud like to begin playing around with Ruby on Rails but HostGator currently doesn’t have RoR installed on their shared hosting boxes. The frontend is competely configurable, but if ther is a piece of server-side software I would really like to play around with I am SOL.
    I can set-up a bonafide cron job on the server. I alread use one to update the RSS feeds in my feed reader.

  17. Hey Jonathan —
    Yahoo! buys the companies and — as I understand it — requires the essential inventors to remain on staff or a year or so and then they are released back into the world. If you’ve been made an instant millionaire many times over I’m sure you don’t have much driving force left to “perfect” what was perfect enough to make you a millionaire many times over. So… by human nature… they float until they can create their next multi-million dollar idea.
    Here’s my Media Temple plan:
    http://www.mediatemple.net/services/webhosting/dv/linux-standard/
    With your guts and background you deserve a good web host that will allow you to play around and mix and modify as you wish. CPanel is in no way Plesk, believe me. I was on CPanel with LunarPages. Plesk is what Lunarpages uses to run their setup and CPanel rides on top. You can be Lunarpages or HostGator with that Media Temple setup.
    I can do server side Cron jobs, too, but I love how easy Skippy’s plugin makes the process invisible.

  18. Hey, I went away for a while and now I can comment without logging in? I must have missed that change.
    The thing that annoys me about web 2.0 is that it’s really just what the web used to be like, but with a few new concepts that, in themselves, don’t make a difference. AJAX is the glue that holds it together, but people have done smart stuff with Java, Javascript, DHTML and framesets that emulate a lot of the features coming online with AJAX.
    Digg, Scoopeo (French digg), My Yahoo! and deli.cio.us have made a bit of a difference to my habits. Before those however there was Slashdot, My Yahoo! without drag & drop, and I had my bookmarks on Yahoo! too.
    So, apart from a bit of bell & whistle asynchronous updates and “tags” – keywords that are indexed just like they always have been, the real change is the distributed human contributor input nature of those successful sites that federate content from many people and make a site out of it.
    So the key element is what – well, community building I suppose. It will affect everyone’s online life sooner or later, directly or indirectly. It’s not web2 sites that are doing it though, it’s TCP/IP and HTTP before anything else; the Internet revolution happened before AJAX, and AJAX is just another tool that is keeping the momentum going.
    It’s all about community building and better interfaces. I dislike that marketroids call it Web2.0 though, even though you could argue there is a new generation of sites that are improving on old interface styles and making things more interactive.
    -Fruey

  19. Hi fruey —
    Logging in to comment was turned off a week or so ago:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2006/04/19/registration-no-longer-required-to-comment/
    I think Web 2.0 is more than AJAX. I believe it’s a new way of moving solitary work on single computers for tethered interaction on the web for easier collaboration and that wasn’t really possible until the recent widespread availability of cheap high-speed DSL and cable modem connections that make real-time communication and video conferencing possible.
    Not having to purchase software or even own your own equipment in order to access a top-of-the-line workspace like the big boys gives the little guy an edge up onto a slightly more level playing field where a good idea can trump a better CPU.