I remember the birth of the web. Programmers were excited about the new opportunities. HTML was in its infancy – it was simple to understand and easy to implement. The idea of linking information together, making it easier to locate and share, seemed revolutionary and created a platform on which just about anyone could contribute to the web of information. In the beginning, relatively few people understood the power of contribution. Web developers/designers continued to push the technology to become more graphically appealing, websites started having advertisers and all the web eye candy gained more attention. So much so, that in the early part of this century TV started to imitate websites. We started to see a real blending of media. TV and websites started to compete with each other. News crawlers (text streams you see at the bottom of the screen on many news stations), multiple data sources being updated in real time (stock prices) and teasers for the next show are just three examples of flashy content designed to keep your attention. The ability to embed video into websites further blurred the lines between the two and TV was changed forever. This is Web 1.0.
Missing from all of this “advancement” were easy/intuitive interfaces allowing contribution from many platforms (computers, smartphones, pda) and locations. With an easy to use interface, adoption would quicken and more people would start to understand the power of collaboration (contributing and sharing information). As more people started to understand the value of collaboration, the demand for easier interfaces grew. This concept is at the heart of the Web 2.0.
“Just as Web 1.0 changed TV, Web 2.0 is changing journalism.”
We are just starting to understand the power of Web 2.0. Creative companies are linking data points together to infer meaning that is instantly consumable. For example, Foursquare allows you to get and share information about your location. Need to find a café, Foursquare can help. Progressive journalists like CNN’s Rick Sanchez @ricksanchezcnn use social media to interact with their audience in real-time. Rick’s list is based on the concept of leveraging social media.
For some, the need for a connected world seems to be a distraction. I frequently hear people saying they don’t have time to keep up with Twitter. I understand the lack of time and the struggle to keep up with the times, but Twitter is a way to “keep up”. Twitter will expose you to sources of information you would otherwise not be familiar with. I realize this seems counter-intuitive, but it is true. You will need to invest time to build your networks (either people or subjects) and in the beginning, it might seem like you spend more time searching than consuming. Give it a little time and you will be rewarded.
Web 2.0 – it’s about collaboration, simplified entry points to the web, creating networks out of interests and sharing information. Web 2.0 – it’s about time.