I was just reading The Top 100 Alternative Search Engines over at ReadWriteWeb (which I read every day), and after supressing my gag reflex, decided to write this post. It’s time we talked about everybody’s favorite buzzword, “Web 2.0.”
Web 2.0 is the Macarena of Buzzwords
Broadly speaking, Web 2.0 refers to any web innovation following the Web 1.0 industry crash in 2000 – 2002. That’s it.
Successful Web 2.0 companies build communities to share information in innovative ways. MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, and Wikipedia all allow people to find and share information on a level humans have never experienced before. This is all fine and dandy.
The Lame Side of Web 2.0
Unfortunately, there is a massive clique of sugar-high people who think Web 2.0 is a candyland of free webapps that perform identical functions to desktop apps. Or even worse, that Web 2.0 is about cuddly pastel logos and cutesy titles. Sites with titles like this:
d e c i p h o
goshme Beta 3.0
Quintura for kids
These websites may be jim dandy, but they reek of the self-concious bid to appear hip to their users. Early adopters aren’t daft. Surely all web users are savvy enough to cynically wrinkle up our noses at naked attempts to appeal to the cliched trends of the Web 2.0 style elite.
I think it was Marshall McLuhan who wrote that consumers prefer variations on things they already know, rather than anything actually new. But I imagine Web 2.0 graphic designers are exactly the sort of people who go around quoting a supercilious McLuhan remark and believing it!
And while I’m on my soap box, can we mention the Web 2.0 problem that there are even 100 Top Alternative Search Engines, or that ReadWriteWeb has to update this list every month? Maybe we need another crash so we can clear out the dead wood, and get started on Web 3.0!
Okay. I Took a Deep Breath and I Feel Better
I don’t know why Web 2.0 trendiness irks me so much. Sometimes I suspect that fifty percent of all Web 2.0 startups only exist to promote the other fifty percent of Web 2.0 startups. Or that most blog posters are really bloggers posting in order to promote their own blogs. There’s like this sinister undercurrent of stylish self-promotion lurking just beneath the surface of Web 2.0 that’s extremely difficult to put a finger on. But it’s there. I know it’s there. And it irks me.