Dave Winer attempts to nail Web 2.0's coffin shut with this short essay on why Web 2.0 doesn't exist at all.
An epitaph for the non-existent.
"Goodbye, yon Web 2.0, we knew yet not; ye existeth not."
Web 2.0, like Ajax, is built of tools that predated their term d'arte. This does not mean that the term has no validity.
Web 2.0, like Web 1.0, has VC hype. This does not mean that the term is only hype.
Web 2.0 has had the stuffing kicked out of it - and that may be its actual killer. Much like Al Gore, Web 2.0 was seen to be all things for all people and when it proved not to be people threw it out in its entirety.
Winer claims that Web 2.0's merits are the merits the web has always espoused:
So Web 2.0 is every bit as real as the original web was. Ask TBL if there is such a thing as Web 2.0. He should be able to tell you that it was always part of the vision of the web that it be open to everyone to write and publish. If you go back before the web, to word processing and spreadsheets, who could imagine a one-way word processor? A graphics program that could only view but not create graphics? Feh. PCs were very much two-way things too.
Sorta. This is where Winer as a Web 1.0 believer and the Web 2.0 believers find themselves in the same, bewildering camp. Other people have redefined their utopia and they can't put things right.
Tim Berners-Lee's vision isn't what the web became. The definition of the web was set by other people than its patron saint. The same has been true for Web 2.0. The definition of web 2.0 has been well documented and canonized by Dion Hinchcliffe, but it can't escape corruption.
This is because "Web 2.0" is a open-ended label. It invites the imagination in, which is good, but it doesn't give the imagination a place to go. Software developers will recognize this as wish-list syndrome. Users want the next version of any software to do everything it didn't do in the previous version.
There is no expectation management in web 2.0. So Dave Winer is right in saying that Web 2.0 has the same goals as Web 2.0. For Dave Winer. And Dion and Mike Arrington can say it's totally not for them. Web 2.0 has no boundaries and therefore is boundless.
The goals of Web 2.0 we can agree on, I think, center around collaboration and two-way data transfer. These are largely centered around blogging and Ajax - the components of which are not novel. What is novel is that we've developed an expectation as a community that the web is more than a huge set of static pages.
Yes, Dave, I know that was always the vision - now it's the expectation.
Whether we call it Web 2.0 or a Cigar, that expectation is powerful and it's helping along the evolution in business and culture that TBL began.
Cyberspace is dead! Long live Cyberspace!
Photo: Clara Natoli