My husband and I went out to dinner last night and as we are
wont to do, we got into a discussion about the meaning of x (x
being in this case, Web 2.0, or more precisely, the definition
of 2.0 as applied to different things such as Web 2.0, Library
2.0, Learning 2.0, etc). What started it was that we'd both read
a post by John Blyberg about whether or not Library 2.0 required
technology and being 'plugged-in', or if Library 2.0 was
something more or different than just technology (to poorly
I'd been mulling over this ever since I first heard the term
applied and I thought it was a very interesting question. Sean
felt that technology (specifically, the web) was inherent in
2.0. That without the web and all the things it now allows
people to easily do, 2.0 (as is defined) would not exist. (My
apologies to Sean for trying to quote him. I'm sure he will be
writing a blog on the same thing and I will put a link to it
when he does).
I felt that 2.0 was a concept of a web that was facilitated and
enhanced by technology, but that it was a mindset/concept rather
than something concrete that requires the web and/or technology.
I believed that many of the 2.0 tools could be replicated in
other, non-technological ways (albeit on a smaller scale and/or
not as easily or well). In fact, I felt they already have been,
it just was not recognized as being a valuable way to interact
and worth evaluating how it fits into the business, learning,
library, etc. models.
I think from a social and a "geek" (for lack of a better word)
standpoint, it has been around for quite a while. People who
share strong common interests will always find a way to
interact. Through conventions or clubs or contests or meeting
places or correspondence or any number of other ways, they will
find a way to interact and to share ideas, discoveries,
passions, etc. I also believe though, that the value of that interaction
and sharing was not recognized as something that is of value
for more standardized, generic, broad-based things, like
learning or libraries or businesses and that this is where 2.0
comes into play.
However, that all being said, I realized that I don't really
know the accepted definition of generic 2.0, much less
the definition is of Web2.0, Library2.0, Learning2.0, etc.
And I'm not sure there is a definition of 2.0 in general. It
seems to have started with (been coined by) a conference
brainstorming session between O'Reilly and MediaLive
International. in 2003 or 2004, as near as I can tell. Here is a
quote of his "compact definition of Web2.0":
"Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected
devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of
the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software
as a continually-updated service that gets better the more
people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple
sources, including individual users, while providing their own
data and services in a form that allows remixing by others,
creating network effects through an "architecture of
participation," and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to
deliver rich user experiences."
That does seem to be referring to it as specifically a platform,
rather than a web of people, ideas, sharing, etc. Here is the
long version of his creating and defining Web2.0 (it goes into a
lot of detail and the thought process they went through). And
here is another view of Web2.0, the Web2.0 Cheat Sheet.
After just browsing for Web2.0 definitions and reading the many,
many comments they get, I still have not figured out exactly
what it is and encompasses (although I have a better idea of
what it "means").
And I wonder if it really matters if we can say definitively
what is and isn't "2.0". Perhaps the value of the 2.0 label is
to get people to broaden, examine, enhance and change how they
view doing things. To see what other people have done by doing
what I am doing, by trying to find out what is Web2.0,
Learning2.0, Library2.0. And then, by that process, seeing what
has been done and what can be done and using it to start thinking
of ways to incorporate the various tools or ideas or creations
that they find in the process.
I guess that for me, it is like the famous quote on obscenity:
"I know it when I see it".