“In less than five years, a movement has taken hold that is having a profound effect on public relations. Called Web 2.0 by Tim O’Reilly, of O’Reilly Media in 2003, it heralds the evolution of the web from a repository of information and communication technologies into a space for symmetrical communication; a platform which aids the transfer of knowledge and conversations and a place where people can easily mix and match both.”
The idea of a Web 2.0 was widely adopted after O’Reilly made it evident that there were changes that could not be ignored and that allowed for more people to use the internet to communicate and to collaborate. These changes were in fact the result of a tipping point in usability, in a growing concern to make the web more accessible to those without programming skills. We can’t even determine what caused this tipping point, as it appears to have been a set of factors: Companies became more aware of usability requirements, the number of internet users was growing more and more each day, publishing online content became easier thanks to blogging services and software developers saw great improvements in both programming languages and web servers.
When we talk about web 2.0 we are simply mentioning a point of evolution, characterized by real time communication and a growing interaction between people, groups and organizations. It is in no way “a new internet”, and by it’s own it is not a paradigm shift.
As if this wasn’t enough, in an interview for an IBM podcast, Tim Berners-Lee showed an interesting perspective regarding the hype surrounding Web 2.0.
Sometimes we even refer to it as the “social web”, which leads us to another fallacy. The web as always been social in nature, it was always meant to assist cooperation between people, to spread information and to allow for low cost and high efficiency tools of communication to be developed. Before 2003, when Web 2.0 was proclaimed, groups were already forming through mailing lists, online forums, Chat Rooms and Instant Messaging services.
Web 2.0 is bandied about by a lot of people as being new. It is really an evolution.