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The Trouble with Web 2.0 ... 2.0 November 21, 2005 – 10:50 p.m. – Permalink

Web 2.0 is very open, but all that openness has its downside: When you invite the whole world to your party, inevitably someone pees in the beer.


A little over a month ago I wrote an entry entitled “The Trouble with Web 2.0”. There has been so much more done over the past month, so much more “trouble,” so to speak, that I have decided to write yet another entry about the inevitable failure of this overhyped phrase.

Note: This is meant to be a supplement to “The Trouble with Web 2.0.” Read that entry first for maximum comprehension.

Much of the criticism about Web 2.0 has been geared toward Wikipedia, that great free encyclopedia that is your friend when it comes to research. Not in this case. I came across Jørgen Arnor Gårdsø Lom’s blog (a great read, by the way) through a comment on the last entry.

His experience with Wikipedia has not been altogether pleasant. In his own words, “We’ll have to suppose that in any case where you give this kind of freedom to this quantity of people (the entire world), there’s bound to be someone abusing this power.” And he is absolutely right. So many pages on Wikipedia (on which I have an account) have been massacred that I’m beginning to doubt whether this editing power should be extended to everybody, even those with malevolent intentions.

And what about Yahoo’s attempt to compete with I believe one of the main goals of Web 2.0 is to end competition and let everything be open to everyone? If there is this kind of competition (and it is heating up as you read this) between corporate powers such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, this won’t be Web 2.0. It’ll be War 2.0 (the first being the browser wars in the late nineties).

In Dion Hinchcliffe’s blog, he states with enthusiasm that Web 2.0 is here. The post was placed online on September 24, 2005. A lot has happened since then. A lot that leans toward an excessive amount of hype for Web 2.0 — so much that it may lead to its downfall.

What do I mean? Web 2.0 is a popular yet delicate concept. One deviation from the specific thing everyone wants, and the whole thing comes crashing down and we’ve got corporate battles and frightened people.

Scarcely two months after his triumphant “Web 2.0 is here” post, Hinchcliffe writes about ten issues facing Web 2.0 into 2006 (November 3). If that isn’t hypocritical, I don’t know what is. But his list of issues is absolutely correct:

  1. Excessive Hype. Impossible to ignore.
  2. Lack of Simple Definition. What is Web 2.0? Even that cannot be answered well at all.
  3. Aging Poster Children. Wikipedia and Flickr are just becoming too old to remain the heralding trumpets of the so–called Web 2.0.
  4. Needing a Permaconnection. How is it Web 2.0 if no one can access it?
  5. Ajax as the Official Web 2.0 Experience. I speak for the browsing public — what’s Ajax?
  6. Excessive Attention on the Technology. Web 2.0 is supposedly about people, not the underlying technology.
  7. Really Bad Adherents. “Don’t call yourself Web 2.0, just do it.”
  8. Blogging Instead of Doing.
  9. Not Facing Hard Truths. It’s not about the corporate interests.
  10. Adopting the Lightweight Creation Model.

And guess what I found just a week ago: a Web 2.0 validator. This goes hand in hand with one of the items in the list above: Lack of Simple Definition. The description for the site says, “Who makes the rules? You do. ... The definition of Web 2.0 changes on a daily basis.”

Didn’t Tim O’Reilly give a whole plan about what Web 2.0 was about and what it had to offer? Yes, Web 2.0 is about the user. But how can the user know what Web 2.0 is if there is not a solid, concrete definition?

I think it’s time that the Web realized that Web 2.0 is nothing but an undefined concept, sort of like a ghost in the air that seems extremely likely to vanish without a trace.

In other news Seraphic Zephyr has been featured on Screenspire. Also, my good friend Pat has a fantastic rant about human nature.