Web 2.0 nomenclature – a flash in the pan or real gold nuggets?

November 7th, 2006 | by ian |

Austin at Billions with Zero Knowledge is blogging at the O’Reilly Web 2.0 conference. This got me thinking again about all this of web nomenclature hoopla which seems to have spread like the Code Red worm (see below) with monikers such as “office 2.0,” “enterprise 2.0,” “identity 2.0,” etc…. Anytime anyone goes on a naming spree I have to wonder…do we need all of these names, do they really mean something? Are we trying to use the power of names to feel in control of something inherently chaotic and evolutionary? In biology, microbes often break the taxonomy of species, there is too much diversity, they evolve too quickly and unpredictably compared with larger organisms. Perhaps the web is reaching a level of complexity that defies a simple nomenclature convention and shorthand which is typically used to describe product revisions.

I suggested that web 2.0 is best described as the second coming of the internet goldrush (I think we all remember the last one pretty well with mixed feelings) and challenged Austin to bring back some real nuggets from the web 2.0 conference. We didn’t have to wait long. He promptly minted a blog entry on “goldsourcing” – an interesting discussion about crowdsourcing. Certainly the whole web 2.0 scene is pretty high on community strategy and with good reason: it is much cheaper to engage folks who are passionate about your market to help build and sell your product than to hire professionals. There really is the potential for “gold in them thar crowds” as Austin puts it, and he ties it together with what appears to be a fascinating book about the actual gold industry successfully applying crowdsourcing – Mavericks at Work.

With all this excitement over crowdsourcing it bears mention that you can’t hide a lack of real value for too long without incurring the wrath of the crowd. After all they are working for peanuts, so there better be lots of delicious peanuts (disclosure: the author has a potentially deadly allergy to peanuts)! If there’s no gold in the these hills, the most crowdsourcing will help you get is a flash in the pan. When the smoke clears there will be little left of the majority of ventures which primarily describe themselves as “web 2.0” (that’s probably a warning sign right there) and hopefully most of us will have moved on to more meaningful discussions of how the web can help our everyday lives.

From CAIDA: Rapid spread of the Code Red internet worm in 24 hours on July 19th, 2001

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