Web 2.0 in the New Year

Stephen DeAngelis

January 3, 2007

Sean Meade, Tom Barnett’s Webmaster, pointed me to an interesting Web site after reading yesterday’s post about emerging search engines. The site, Information Architects Japan, contains a what it calls a “trend map” — in this case, a labeled a London Underground map with the names of many of the sites being used to connect us globally — everything from search engines to social networking sites.

I’m not sure the map is as informative as it could be, but it does show how the density of connectivity is increasing on the World Wide Web. I was more intrigued by the predictions the site made for the coming year. Here they are:

  • Apple keeps its iPod monopoly and increases its OS 5% market share to 5.1%
  • Google scores against Microsoft and Yahoo due to its massive marketing data advantage
  • Blogs bloom, and prepare for the 2008 election
  • Social networks become a place where members make money
  • Newspapers open up
  • Big ad investments start streaming in
  • New Internet focused ad agencies open up
  • Viruses and spam become an even bigger hassle
  • Yet Digital ID initiates a major change that makes the web more reliable, user and investor friendly
  • All in all 2007 is a preparation for the big infolution in 2008

The last prediction about what the site calls the “infolution” was what really caught my eye. The folks at IA see the infolution as the emergence of Web 3.0. Here is what they write:

Web 3.0: You say you’re on an infolution? Well, you know … Web 1.0 started as a streaming publish-to-read medium; web 2.0 has established itself as a publishing platform for everyone. Now web 3.0 is said to be a technologically advanced Internet, where the user executes and the machines do the thinking. Nice try. But at this point it’s not the technology that needs to be improved. It’s time that we finally get what we were promised in the beginning: An interactive, social and mainly – simple Internet…

For the folks at IA, Web 3.0 is all about having participatory Web experience — in other words, taking Web 2.0 to the next level rather than generating a new Web framework.

Web 2.0: Effect predominates. Pretty, stylish, round corners, self centered, see and be seen. 1% contribute. Web 3.0: The interface fully defines the character. Simple, social, focused on others, actively communicating, easy to read. If you don’t contribute, you disappear. … Web 2.0 is not really social; mostly it’s just a lot of user generated noise.

The site goes on to explain what it means to be truly interactive. Most people call Web 3.0 the Semantic Web, IA calls it a Social or Democratic Web:

Interactive is what the Internet was supposed to be from the start. With the exception of ebay, wikipedia and a couple of intelligent user forums, there has not been a lot of interactivity on the web. The reason for that is that there is a big misconception of what “interactive” really means. … Social, interactive means: People communicate and help develop better products and high value content through communication. Right now, most people are streaming their thoughts, bookmarks, ideas. Yes, forums have been around for years, but there people mostly run in insulting circles and rarely produce something new.

Social web = democratic web

Web 2.0 is the base for a democratic web. But like all democratic systems, the web needs basic democratic standards. Yes, rules. Simple democratic rules that apply to (usability is a form of politeness) and communication (not even Kramer has the right to insult). These rules are not there to bore, restrict or subordinate us, they guarantee to get the maximum out of a collective. They guarantee a maximum amount of freedom for the maximum amount of people.

I couldn’t agree more about the importance of rules. Chaos and anarchy result when large numbers of people try to transact without following some basic rules. With basic rules, amazing and surprising patterns of interactions result. The site has much more to say about Web 3.0 so go back and click the Infolution hyperlink to read more. Like so many others writing about the future, the author of the IA site has the feeling that we are sitting on the cusp of something new and better. There is change in the air.