Web 2.0 has jumped the shark

I'm about as big a fan of "web 2.0" as anybody. I'm all about user generated content and Ajax-ified interfaces. I can't tell you how many times I've had potential clients approach me asking for a web 2.0 look. Or that they've got a wicked application idea....it's like Flickr meets YouTube meets Facebook. You want me to build that for you? Sure, why not.

And yet, as I drove home today, there was the mayor of Ottawa talking on the radio about new ways to communicate with the local government. He managed to use the actual words "web two-dot-oh", "user generated content", and "Facebook-like" features. I almost caused an accident trying to rip the radio out of my dash.

What does that even mean to anybody listening to the radio? All the site does is post topics and allow people to respond to those comments. Users can then rate the comments by indicating whether you agree with the stated viewpoint.

Now, I haven't used the site in any depth so maybe there's more to it than this but from what I've seen, there's no need to be throwing around useless buzz phrases like this. C'mon, it's time to think outside the box and create a paradigm shift.

Published December 01, 2007
Categorized as Opinion
Short URL: https://snook.ca/s/856


27 Comments · RSS feed
Luke Dorny said on December 01, 2007

Sounds like capital hill is ready to monetize their ajaxified inline style.

Jason Calleiro said on December 01, 2007

Amazing... i would have crashed.

iTony said on December 02, 2007

is there a way to put a wireless tease on that kinda people and it would automatically tease them when something like that comes out of their mouth? :P that would help social evolution.

Dylan B said on December 02, 2007

A bunch of the higher ups at my University always throw around buzz words like wiki and ajax and want me to build these "Web 2.0 applications" for them. They have now clue just how much work actually goes into them though, but they love to just throw around these ideas all the time. Good article.

Dusan Smolnikar said on December 02, 2007

Well, it's called marketing :) People have no idea what web 2.0 is. All they know is it's new and cool... And he wasn't telling any lies as far as I'm concerned. That's what web 2.0 is - a big "post your comment" form on a website.

Don't get me wrong, I feel sick hearing these too. But on the other hand I'm quite sure it's a good advertising strategy.

Andrew Kumar said on December 02, 2007

hahaa; you used "outside the box" and "paradigm shift" in the same sentence... now I'm fully expecting you to throw in some "corporate social responsibility" and "creating value" in future posts =D

Matt Robin said on December 02, 2007

>>"He managed to use the actual words "web two-dot-oh", "user generated content", and "Facebook-like" features. I almost caused an accident trying to rip the radio out of my dash"

I just read this and it made me laugh (very) loudly! You're quite right Jon - this is a bit mad. I mean, yes, Facebook uses a few Web 2.0 features, and yes, it has plenty of user-generated content (although that's not something uniquely web 2.0)...but it is hardly a shining-light of reference for all things Web 2.0 - not even close! This is certainly an instance of someone throwing out buzzwords and the name of [insert name of popular social network of the moment] just to get on the bandwagon. The Mayor has obviously realised* that Web 2.0 and Facebook are both widely recognised right now and wants to try to appear knowledgeable - whether he knows what either of them mean, or do, is another matter I entirely though. *[Or he was informed about them]. Crazy stuff! Haha

Ara Pehlivanian said on December 02, 2007

Thank you for your proactive post concerning this platform. However I believe this to be a parking lot issue and downsizing deliverables could champion your cause. Initiatives, solutions, skill sets and strategies such as these are forward looking and synergistic. They facilitate goal-oriented, high-level resourcing and repurposing of issues. I think we need some face time to right-size this red herring and discuss this golden thread of connectivity.

Ain Tohvri said on December 02, 2007

Another thing that people don't realize is development cost. Any fancy feature triggers a certain workload.

And AJAX is not a magic word boosting site sales and/or ranking. On the contrary, wrong usage may basically turn your site off in terms of SEO and therefore sales.

In my humble opinion the buzz about it all is mostly unreasonable. I'd rather see more attention on things that would help build better web2 applications: A fuss of Web 2.0 has left Acid2 aside

Daniel said on December 02, 2007

Maybe I missed the memo, but where is this site?

Jonathan Snook said on December 02, 2007

@Daniel (and other Ottawans): the site is called "Ottawa Talks"

David Walsh said on December 02, 2007

Well, I suppose he said "dot" instead of "point." I guess we can hold onto "Web Two Point Oh" for a few more months.

Dale Cruse said on December 02, 2007

I had a boss recently who kept bugging me to create a blog. "No prolem," I'd say. "What are we going to write about?" She just had a deer in the headlights look. "You get back to me on that," I'd say. She never did. In fact, she just got fired.

J Phillips said on December 02, 2007

I can't stand when people use buzzwords, who have no clue what they are saying. Anytime I hear someone use those terms, I ask them what they mean when they say something like "web 2.0.".

Steve Lounsbury said on December 02, 2007

While I agree that hearing the words "Web 2.0" come out of our mayor's mouth is sorta shocking and that most people don't really have a full grasp of what the phrase means, I think its also important to realize that this actually counts as a pretty big paradigm shift in the eyes of the government.

Government communications is all about controlling the message. To allow something as simple as comments on a post is a big step towards greater transparency. While I'm sure every one of those comments is moderated, its still pretty amazing that Joe Public can get his voice heard on an official government site.

At the last Third Tuesday Ottawa meetup, Colin McKay talked about some of the issues around getting government to buy into user generated content and other "Web 2.0" concepts. It was a great talk and opened my eyes to what allowing comments means to the government and to the general public. If anyone is interested, Colin's talk was mainly speaking to his experience starting the blog at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner: http://blog.privcom.gc.ca/

Montoya said on December 02, 2007

We warned people about this crap from the very beginning; what that website does is the same thing a simple web forum could do 10 years ago. Now we have these stupid buzzwords that people use to describe the simplest of features, so most people just get confused and the barrier of entry goes way up. Let me know when the next bubble bursts.

Jonathan Snook said on December 02, 2007

@Steve Lounsbury: having a government site offer a comments system isn't really new (I've built forums and what not for govt clients before) but the market landscape is probably at a point now where it can sustain the conversation. And I highly support what they want to accomplish with this. What I don't like is the rampant buzzword dropping that doesn't mean anything and doesn't explain what it is that the site does.

Brendan Falkowski said on December 03, 2007

Unlike the Internet, "web two dot oh" is connected by "a series of tubes." Who doesn't love a good paradigm shift?

Daniel said on December 03, 2007

@snook @all : I'm a web guy for a fed department, and I think it's important to know that gov't sites (at least at the federal level) have certain legal restrictions placed upon them and don't necessarily have all the freedoms that regular websites do to embrace these types of things.

Sure, "controlling the message" definitely plays in to the discussion, (although probably not any more or less than it would for any other large organization, public or private) but it's not the only issue.

All that being said, I think that the City of Ottawa taking this chance is a very good sign. Definitely a step in the right direction.

Daniel said on December 03, 2007

@steve lounsbury : Do you know if Colin's talk is available anywhere? I'd love to hear or read it.

Steve said on December 03, 2007

In Toronto, we now have ads on the radio, for ISPs that offer security against "Web 2.0" threats... how's that for jumping the shark?

Don't you just hate it when shiny, pastel colored, auqua'fied, logos attack! [beta]

Sadly, in time, Web 3.0 will be what "saves" us from the era of Web 2.0 and all the while, it will still just be a buzz word that defines "hip on the 'net, as of this moment in time"

farfromfearless said on December 03, 2007

Typical governemt -- it'll take em forever roll out the mediocre once again. By then everyone will have moved on and they'll still be talking about better ways to communicate with local govenment.

Jason said on December 03, 2007

My favorite is when my clients ask for a "podcast" on their websites. Now I thought I knew what a podcast was until I spoke with my clients. For all you Web 2.0 geeks, when you speak to a typical client, you should know that a podcast is really just a little sound clip that automatically plays a jingle when you hit the home page. This takes me way back to Web 0.5 - the Geocities homepages.

Many business clients also ask for a "blog" for their website because someone in their networking group told them they need one so that they can be #1 in Google. Pronounced "BLAWG", a blog is something clients don't want at all once you tell them that they have to "WRITE". Writing is something that predates Web 2.0 by a few thousand years and is far below the 21st Century Client. To seal the deal, tell them that random people can add honest comments to their website. Now you can safely hang up the phone and wait for the next bad idea to come along.

Dustin Brewer said on December 04, 2007

That story is fantastic. I wonder which of his tools told him to say that, as if anyone listening to it (except you) knew what he was talking about.

Anonymous said on December 09, 2007

Web 2.0 is going the be the next big thing, I am with you

Amit said on December 14, 2007

WEb 2.0 is coming out with its full fleged resourses and users. And going to be big one in the coming time

Jim said on December 19, 2007

I blame Tim O'Reilly for this Web 2.0 crap/confusion and then all the subsequent fanboi's that followed. Thanks Tim! (jackass)

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