July 31, 2005

a cumulative Web 2.0 definition ...

... quite provisory, of course. Mainly based on the proto-definition work of richard mcmanus' writereadweb, still the most imprtant resource for Web 2.0. But I am more leaning to the techno-cultural side of the phenomenon, nut sufficienmtly covered by the otherwise very good wikipedia-entry. At present I see five characteristics of the Web 2.0 infrastructure, or Web 2.0 applications:

(1) ?The Web As Platform?: This was the formula for the first Web 2.0 conference, ?exploring how the Web has developed into a robust platform for innovation across many media and devices - from mobile to television, telephone to search." (For Tim O'Reilly being interviewed by McManus see here.) The Web is becoming an metadata-driven infrastructure that is not anymore only accessible by traditional browsers. Web 2.0 applications ?can serve content that exploits network effects with or without creating a visual, interactive web page?. The Client can be a browser, a program acting in the background or even a human agent who can create new XML-microcontent fed back into the environment.

(2) Point of Presence: Web 2.0 is a "Point of Presence on the Web for exposing of invoking Web Services and/or Syndicating or Subscribing to XML based content" (Kingsley Idehen). I prefer to understand the term in a metaphoric way: first people were "visiting" a "site", then they had something like a "cockpit" (in Web 1.5 like Amazon or eBay) ... and now the user feels immersed in the media (as McLuhan had put way back in the 60s).

(3) Microcontent-based: As said in this article of McManus/Porter (and others), Web 2.0 is based on openly accessable microcontent (for a definition of ?microcontent? see here and of course microcontent musings) ? it resembles more a field of dynamic content ?clouds? than an archive of web ?pages? and ?documents?. The result is an infrastructure that is open, decentralized, bottom-up and self-organizing.

(4) Second order content or metacontent: Web 2.0 applications are quite commonly based on microcontent coming from a different and distributed source that is machine-processed, reused and put out of context (more on ?user-generated content? here). The concept of "second-order content" deserves further exploration.

(5) Metaweb: ?Web 2.0? has earlier been used as a synonym for the ?Semantic Web? (which in itself is a rather vague concept). According to the wikipedia article, ?the two concepts are similar and complementary?. The combination of social networking systems with the development of tagging and delivered through blogs and wikis ?creates a natural basis for a semantic environment?. The Web 2.0 is not only a better environment for computers, but also for ?human clients? who can now get their microcontent aggregated, assembled and structured according to personalized ad-hoc points of views. (see Yahoo's Emergent Semantics, and of course the whole avalanche of the folksonomies-vs-ontologies-discussion in the first months of 2005).

More material (to be aggregated and updated in the future):
# # technorati tag-list
# arnaud leene's microcontent musings (important resource)

Posted by martin at July 31, 2005 3:10 PM | TrackBack
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