Sunday, February 18, 2007

Web 2.0 Goes Mainstream

We have gone mainstream with Web 2.0.

Slight digression. For those of you who have no idea what Web 2.0 is. let me give you a simple definition. Web 1.0 was all about static content on the Internet. You could go out and find information. Most of this information was provided by companies. You could also transact on the Internet - buying things from sites such as Amazon and eBay. Web 2.0 is all about the interactive Internet. Rather than information being static and transactional, it is interactive and dynamic. Much of the content comes from individuals and communities. For more information, take a look at at Web 2.0 .

And one more digression. Technology in general follows something called the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. That is, there are always early adopters and visionaries who are willing to try almost anything. Many technologies never make it beyond these folks. When it does, it crosses what is called the Chasm and moves into significantly greater adoption. That is where we are with Web 2.0.

Now back to Web 2.0 going mainstream. There are a number of reasons I say this. But the most telling is how my wife is now using the Internet. She is not technical, does not write programs, was pretty much like most users of the Internet. She looked up information, used email and did some ecommerce. But recently EVERYTHING CHANGED. She first started listening to podcasts. She found out about flickr from her favorite Creative Mom Podcast and blog. She has become a part of a community.

I offered to help her create a blog. She now has one and it is actually a mashup (a Web 2.0 term which means to combine different pieces of information from different places on the Internet together). She has a picture, an interactive connection to her flickr pages, links to other sites and the blog itself. She put this together with no help from me - she just used the capabilities. Check her blog out to see what I mean, and click on her flickr map. If she can easily do this, we are past the early adopters and visionaries!!

There are other reasons as well. Mostly the number of sites that are being created quickly and easily where they are combining capabilities from multiple other sites into something that is usable and more interactive. Taking advantage and creating communities where people of like interest can come together. And leveraging the massive number of Internet users. A few examples below.
  • M2 Route - ability to map your running routes. All the site does is overlays on a mapping program your own route. Simple to create but useful if you want to track and share routes. There are lots of sites like this out there ...
  • flickr - as mentioned above is a great site for pictures, but that in and of itself is no big deal, they have made it easy to tie into other sites as Julie has done with her blog. And you can do your own mashups on flickr like show your pictures easily on a Google map.
  • digg - a site where users vote on the best articles, and these articles make it to the front page based on number of "diggs".
  • friendster - social networking site which is actually way better than the more widely known myspace.
  • Yahoo Pipes - this is way more advanced, but provides the facility to create more easily complex mashups. It provides a fairly easy set of tools to do this. Not programming but rather assembly.
I could go on and on as this is just exploding. The web is becoming more friendly and easier to use. We have crossed the chasm and are into mass adoption. It is far easier for everyone to use, to create their own mashups and to join and participate in communities. The next few years are going to be really interesting!

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