The “2” in Web 2.0 can be seen to mean two-way. Previously, in Web 1.0, static webpages only allowed one-way communication. You visited a site and read or viewed what was there. Web 2.0 opened up options for ordinary people to have an input to the sites they visited, what Will Richardson calls “the read-write web”.
While individuals with the skills and access to hosting facilities had been able to publish online for some time, Web 2.0 enabled user-generated content to be published without the need to use specific web-authoring software. To me a key feature of Web 2.0 is that I expect the “how” to be intuitive or at the very least easy to do with the help that is provided or available elsewhere (usually on Youtube!). I expect to be able to create and post my video, share my photo, build a website, and connect with others, all with a minimal learning curve, with accessible help and information readily available. In the world of Web 2.0 I do not need to do a six month course or be trained by a guru to learn how.
Social networking is one thing that Web 2.0 technology has facilitated but they are not synonymous – not all Web 2.0 tools are for social networking (although all online social networking tools can be categorised as Web 2.0). There are many Web 2.0 sites and services that are not fundamentally about connecting people or community formation (or if they do have an element of this, it is not their core purpose). Things like
- buying and selling goods (eBay)
- paying for goods and services (Paypal)
- using RSS to have content brought to you (Feedly)
- publishing on a blog (WordPress)
- building a website (Weebly)
- saving bookmarks (Diigo)
- creating a slideshow (Haiku Deck) or animation (PowToon)
- curating resources on a topic (Scoop.it; Pinterest; Storify)
can all be effectively used (and are very useful tools) without engaging in their social aspects.
Another aspect of Web 2.0 that isn’t social networking is the ability to mash together two or more tools, for example putting a Google map onto a website or embedding a Youtube video in a blog.
Tagging and folksonomies are inherent in Web 2.0, something that we librarians with our authority files must also embrace.
Finally, an oldie but a goodie. This video which I first saw in early 2008, sparked an a-ha moment that has lead me on an incredible journey. It might look a little dated but all its messages are still very relevant. I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it but I find something new to think about every time.