So what does Web 2.0 actually mean?

The UK Guardian recently asked a number of the pioneers of so called Web 2.0 how they understand the hyped-up but little understood term. I list some of their answers.

For Jimmy Wales creator of Web encyclopedia Wikipedia its about being open to public participation and then he ads a bit ambiguously its making “the right tool for the web“.

The creator of Blogger, the web tool I use for Mhambi (my other blog), Evan Williams reckons its just “the name for the wave of stuff that is happening right now”. But is whats happening now on the Web not qualitatively different than thats gone before?

But Craig Newmark and Jim Buckmaster creators of Craigslist kindof agree with Williams, for them its being used as a marketing term more than anything else. But they add that in its technology sense, “it involves mash-ups of technology and data from different sites”.

Digg’s creator, Kevin Rose agrees with Jimmy. Its about “the level of participation of the users”. creator Joshua Schachter, comes to it from a different angle. He reckons that the barriers to entry has dropped. The difference was that it used to be the case that to build a product on the web “took a lot of engineering time, a lot of hardware and expensive bandwidth. It took serious cash. Now a great deal of what is necessary is passion.”

The brains around LastFM Martin Stiksel reckons its the old web-an-operating-system dream being realised at last, and he ads “something to do with the participation of people.”

Sounding like half a Kevin Kelly diciple with a mix of tech-bio metaphors and a dash of the old loss of control argument, Feedburners’ Dick Costollo: “It’s the philosophy that customers are in control.” For him the companies that provide the most tools and platforms for participating “in the ecosystem” will be the most successful.

And David Silfry from Technorati? “It’s a term that we use to talk about a new group of companies and a new group of ideas that understand the internet as being full of people who are doing things at a given time. I think its about participation and people and time.”

Would you like ZuluZulu‘s definition? Web 2.0 is caracterised by the increased participation of users and developers.


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