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The Trouble with Web 2.0 October 6, 2005 – 9:17 p.m. – Permalink

Part one in a series entitled “Winning the Web.”

A few months ago, I saw an animation on Albino Blacksheep called “Epic 2015” about the future of the World Wide Web. By 2015, it said, all printed newspapers would cease to exist and the Web would be the underlying architecture — “everyone contributes in some way.” This is somewhat the basis of Web 2.0.

Although this is very much an intriguing way to describe the future of the Web, it is not plausible. Many designers and Web pioneers disagree with the views saying that the Web should be an “architecture of participation.” In Web 2.0, blogs are the primary sources of news and information, while wikis are the primary content management systems. Flickr would be the main photo organizer, and the only advertising option would be Google AdSense.

Some time ago, a man named Dale Dougherty introduced the concept of Web 2.0, and presented it at a “Web 2.0 Conference” in 2004. Unfortunately, many of the options laid out at this conference were already in place or being developed.

As Jason Kottke says, “ ‘Web 2.0’ arrived a year or two ago and we are still talking about it.” RSS was in place a while ago and people at these conferences are still talking about incorporating it into the Web. Get on the beat, people.

For those of you who are still a little confused, another main part of Web 2.0 is that everybody contributes, as mentioned in the first paragraph. This can be seen in Flickr, Blogger, Wikipedia, and But the thing is, these are already here. So why waste time talking about putting them into the Internet when they’re already in place?

Kevin Hale has the right idea. Many of the ideas put in place have caused meaningless arguments about the future of the Web when we should have overturned the structure of the Web and completely redone what our idea of it is. There was a glimmer of hope last year with the encouragement of these conferences to Google, Amazon, and Yahoo.

That glimmer is no more. We need to stop talking about it and actually get something done if anything is to happen.

Garret Dimon probably phrases it the best of everybody talking about it — “It’s not an over—hyped buzzword about technology, money, or small teams. It’s simply about doing things smarter.” In the near future, I expect nothing much to change other than the continual churning of these giants and the increase of blogging.

Maybe no one will listen. Maybe people will just hold these idiotic conferences to plan things that have already occurred. Unfortunately, no one usually does listen.

For more information check out Kottke’s take, what Signal vs. Noise says, Kevin Hale’s article on Particletree, Wikipedia’s entry about Web 2.0, Garrett Dimon’s little quip, and Tim O’Reilly’s conception and encouragement of Web 2.0.