Jargon Watch::What is Web 2.0, and Should You Care?

    by Mark Glaser
    April 10, 2006

    i-78700f202a67c7a8e52ea401a7d9ed83-Web 2.0 logo.JPG
    From time to time, MediaShift will try to explain the jargon of the digital media revolution, the catch-phrases and buzz words that get bandied about ad infinitum — yet no one really knows what they are. Use the comments to share your own personal definition of what Web 2.0 is and isn’t.

    Jargon: Web 2.0 (noun or adjective).

    1. Generally refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that let people collaborate, and share information online (Source: Wikipedia).
    2. Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices (Source: Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Publishing, who runs the Web 2.0 conference).
    3. With its allusion to the version numbers that commonly designate software upgrades, Web 2.0 was a trendy way to indicate an improved form of the World Wide Web (also from Wikipedia).
    4. Web 2.0 is the latest moniker in an endless effort to reignite the dot-com mania of the late 1990s (Source: John Dvorak of PC Magazine).
    5. It’s a technology upgrade, one that finally does what they’d said version 1.0 would do (Source: Paul Boutin of Slate).


    For the long-form definition, check out O’Reilly’s essay, What is Web 2.0.

    Origin: According to O’Reilly in his essay: “The concept of ‘Web 2.0’ began with a conference brainstorming session between O’Reilly and MediaLive International. Dale Dougherty, web pioneer and O’Reilly VP, noted that far from having ‘crashed,’ the web was more important than ever, with exciting new applications and sites popping up with surprising regularity. What’s more, the companies that had survived the collapse seemed to have some things in common. Could it be that the dot-com collapse marked some kind of turning point for the web, such that a call to action such as ‘Web 2.0’ might make sense? We agreed that it did, and so the Web 2.0 Conference was born.”

    Web 2.0 Companies:



    Web 1.0 Companies:


    Synonyms: The Living Web, Read/Write Web, The Live Web, Semantic Web, The New New Thing, Bubble 2.0, Media 2.0, Distributed Web

    Antonyms:: Web 1.0, Dot-Com Boom, The Bubble, Closed Systems, Data Silos

    Common usage:
    1. We are living in the era of Web 2.0, where people collaborate more online, and create and annotate more media than ever before.

    2. That Internet startup is pitching itself to venture capitalists as a Web 2.0 company that is using the wisdom of crowds and user-generated content in order to get the attention of bigger players such as Yahoo and Google, who might eventually buy it out.

    3. If one more company calls itself a part of Web 2.0, I’m going to puke!

    Love it:
    Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Publishing
    John Battelle of FM Publishing (also runs Web 2.0 conference)
    Michael Arrington of TechCrunch
    Ross Mayfield of SocialText
    Susan Mernit, new media consultant

    Hate it:
    John Dvorak of PC Magazine
    Paul Boutin of Slate
    Andrew Orlowski of The Register
    Russell Shaw of ZDNet
    Dave Winer of Scripting News

    The last word:
    Web 2.0 might just be a nerdy term for the new, revamped, post-bubble Internet, where profits mean a little more than just getting eyeballs, and where blogs and social media are transforming our lives. But should you really care about the term? Not necessarily.

    “Ask your mom and dad if they use any of the popular Web 2.0 services,” writes Hooman Radfar on the O’Reilly Radar blog. “Ask folks at Fortune 500 companies what their strategy is to react to the evolution of Web 2.0. Ask your friends if they have invested in any Web 2.0 company’s stock, or are excited about the exciting new direction that the web has taken. They will look at you like you are crazy. And, the first question they will undoubtedly ask is — what is Web 2.0?”

    • Beautiful timing! I’m doing an internal presentation on Web 2.0 (or Bubble 2.0 depending on who you ask) next week!

    • the realization of the read/write web is the fulfillment of tim berners-lee original idea for the web. it took longer than expected, but it’s beginning to arrive.

      a big part of understanding web 2.0 is coming to grips with the power and capabilities of rss. i’m still trying to wrap my mind around rss. here’s an overview article i recently wrote.

      how does rss figure into the media shift?
      why should should a newspaper send me a section of the newspaper — year after year — that i’m not interested in reading?

      why do newspapers have 5 sections rather than 15? who determines what the sections of the newspaper should be? should there be a section of the newspaper devoted to “understanding,” or is understanding a subservient value to others?

    • Hi
      That didn’t tell me much,what are you talking about.


    • diana

      seem like a lot of people wanting to make money and using free labor (others ideas/input)

    • I actually agree with Diana – and I think it’s genius. People love it, so why not? The church I’m a part of is actually considering modeling a re-launch after Web 2.0 – using terms like ‘dynamic content’ and ‘user-produced.’ should be interesting…

    • Bob

      With the recent hub-bub over HP and pre-texting I am wondering what the origin of the term is. Any idea? is it new Jargon?

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