Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Web 2.0: is the frenzy peaking?

There is currently a mad profusion of services designated Web 2.0. They are accompanied by ever-increasing reviews, commentary, and general blogsophere attention.

A few days ago, for instance, "web 2.0," "web-20," and "web2.0" were all within the 30 most active tags on Technorati ("web2.0" is the only one showing up now; the other two have been bumped by "Windows Live Writer" and something else). Are we smack dab in the middle of the Web 2.0 revolution?

A recent Gartner report examines four Web 2.0 trends -- Social Network Analysis, Ajax, Collective intelligence, and Mashups -- and concludes that Web 2.0 is at the peak of a hype cycle. In other words, it's at the second of five stages, in which:

a frenzy of publicity typically generates over-enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations. There may be some successful applications of a technology, but there are typically more failures.

Web 2.0 hottiesCertainly, there is plenty of Hollywood-style hype surrounding the Web 2.0 world. Valleywag tracks all the hoopla, covering events like the recent wild party for Web 2.0 company Yelp.

Amongst all this fanfare, Webby's World points out that it's still pretty difficult to pinpoint just what Web 2.0 means:
Some say it’s merely a buzzword used by new Internet start-ups, powered by venture capitalism, as a way to generate hype; some say it’s a new style of design; some say it’s the new style of web development, i.e. AJAX and Ruby on Rails; and some say it’s simply the next step towards a Semantic Web. I doubt there’ll ever be consensus until what Web 2.0 is until is is was.
Whatever it is or isn't, Web 2.0 is attached as a label to new services that look pretty fun and interesting:
  • Take Kevo, for instance, which is a social network for fans of celebrities (Mashable describes it as "Wikipedia meets Paris Hilton"). Natalie Portman is currently winning a popularity battle with Jesus Christ, by a rather significant margin.
  • Singshot, a service that mixes karaoke and social networking, also recently made a debut. You can learn more about it here.
  • Check out Emurse, an online resume-building application.
  • And there's SlimTimer, which provides online time-tracking from within your browser.
Social networking is a big part of the Web 2.0 pheonomenon, and social networks have an interesting way of immediately catapulting regular people into celebrity status. A 79-year old Englishman has acquired a huge YouTube following, as has the the 16-year old known as lonely girl.

Web 2.0 also isn't confined to a few countries: it's thoroughly international, as a map on B2DAy 2.0 shows.

It's difficult to see how Web 2.0 could get much bigger; it will certainly start slowing down soon. In the meanwhile, it's a lot of fun to keep track of.



Tor said...

We'll know it's hit the final phase when everybody wants to buy any stock that has "web 2.0" in its name, just like the .com boom and bust in the 90s.

Web 2.0 does indeed have a lot of interesting applications to make people's lives better and easier, but in the end, it'll always be the same old story: Provide something people want, or don't bother.

Jonathan said...

Yes, it's definitely feeling like the late 90s again!

Alex Rudloff said...

I think tor nailed it -- provide something people want. Much of the "web2.0" world seems focused on doing things that might seem really cool or shiney or whatever but stop short of solving a real problem. Weekend rails apps are cool and all, but...

Our goal with Emurse is to be a bit more focused on mass appeal. We'll encounter things that don't quite make sense for us immediately (tagging, for instance), and get digirati types asking why we haven't implemented it yet. It's about implementing core services and features first, ya know? Not just about doing whats hot and trendy. We have to stay on point (improving your job hunt)

Anyway.. Great post, and thanks for the link to our site! Drop us a line if you have any suggestions :)


Alex Rudloff
Emurse.com Blog

Jonathan said...

Great point, Alex, and I think you're smart to tackle a basic need with Emurse. Everybody should keep a resume current and a lot of folks need help with this. Speaking of which, I need to update mine for business school. I'll give Emurse a shot, and let you know what I think!

Lord Matt said...

The bigest question to my mind is how to catch a wave of "web 2.0" and ride it to stardom, riches and the rock and roll life style?

Jonathan said...

I'm wondering the same thing, Lord Matt. If you find out, let me know...

Rajas said...

That Web 2.0 is poised for a decline (meaning it's on a high as high it can go); and that there is very little consensus as to *what* it really is; together present a very unique combination!

Perhaps that goes in to show that we love to love obscure, yet glamorous phenomena.

Hence the statement - "We won't know what's Web 2.0, until is becomes was", is really the underlying message.

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