October 27, 2005

Joel on Software - Web 2.0 - what is it?

Joel on Software - Web 2.0 - what is it?

Don't know why I'm wasting my time ranting over there. But still, here's a copy of my post defending "web 2.0"

My God! Is this some kind of international whingers convention?

Lighten up! "Web 2.0" is a blatantly tongue-in-cheek term.

As for the thing itself, who cares what it's called? Or how "new" it is? Or that it's basically a marketing term?

The important point is somebody is trying to make fashionable a bunch of good ideas which smart people have been advocating for years, but the "common sense" of the industry kept denying.

Anyone who hasn't noticed that blogs have become popular and important; or that wikis are kind of useful, and surprisingly better than you might have guessed first time you heard the idea; or that RSS is a very cheap and simple way of doing something that 10 years ago people were trying to sell you million dollar workflow systems for; or that sites built to let customers talk to each other are more interesting than sites built as corporate brochures; basically hasn't being paying attention.

Does anyone remember what it was actually like in web 1.0? When the pointy-haired bosses thought the web was another channel to be colonized by big media; and that content was to be horded away in walled gardens and doled out to greatful, passive consumers? Or that it was OK to erect technical barriers to prevent customers from leaving a service? Remember when technical conversations were trade-secrets that mustn't be allowed out of your company? And when what Joel does here would be considered commercial suicide? Remember when sites were wannabe TV adverts rather than something to help the user?

What we can hope web 2.0 means is that finally people are going to understand what Joel and Cluetrain and Philip Greenspun and Dave Winer and Jakob Nielsen and all the other people who *did* understand the web, were trying to say all those years ago.
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