Web 2.0 is the second web generation laying emphasis on the user’s ability to post, share and edit online content. Web 2.0 made web forums, discussion groups, blog commenting, etc. possible. In short, before Web 2.0, the World Wide Web was a mere screen of graphics and text. It can also be called the social web. If Web 1.0 was read web, Web 2.0 is read/write web. Web 2.0 enabled inter-communication or transportation of information across users. Blogs, social networking websites, wikis, video sharing sites, folksonomies, more capable web browsers, broadband Internet, etc. are products of Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 Salient Features

  • Web 2.0 lets users upload fresh and alter existing content online. For instance, writing product reviews, uploading videos, commenting on blogs, etc.
  • It enables instant interaction between Internet users (online chat, social networking), facilitates information sharing (linking), supports sending and receiving information (email), and Internet accessibility from multiple devices (smartphones, tablet computers, consoles, smart TVs, etc.) besides desktop or laptop computers.

The Beginning and Criticism

Though the phrase “Web 2.0” was first coined by Information Architecture consultant, Darcy DiNucci, in 1999, the phrase became popular during the 2004 Web 2.0 conference held by MediaLive and O’Reilly Media. Dale Dougherty, O’Reilly VP and web pioneer, and Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, popularized the term.

The inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee believes Web 2.0 doesn’t bring any significant changes to the previous web version and it’s merely a marketing jargon. Many believe self-publishing features were already available before Web 2.0. For instance, Amazon acknowledged and published user reviews on its site right from 1995.

Web 2.0 offers the freedom to add to existing content, and provides the possibilities for online collaboration and thoughtful debates. But it also is vulnerable to spams and trolls. Its openness and acceptance of fresh and edited content from anonymous sources undermines expertise. Amateur home videos, poorly-written poems and novels, embarrassing music, uninformed analysis, etc. is what Web 2.0 is about, according to its critics.