Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What the heck is Web 2.0 ? ?

My mom has been taking computer classes and is pretty comfortable with surfing and emailing and such. She reads my blogs periodically, and comments on them occasionally.

Recently, she mentioned that her computer teacher (and big-shot web designer in town I might ad) could not answer any of her questions about blogging.

*tsk* My poor mother is falling behind the times. (Ok she's 70. Sorry mom. You're awesome and you know I love you.) I took it upon myself to bring her up to speed.

After sending the email I thought there may be a few of you who would like a little info about some of this as well, as the internet has recently gone through a radical change that only geek blogs are buzzing about, and only in terms that are over the heads of most of us regular folk. (Sorry geeks, I love all of you too.)

If you're reading this, you deserve to stay in the loop on things here. This is written in layman's terms and if I'm a little off on something, please leave a nice comment to clarify.
Here's what happened to the internet:
  • The internet has changed and is now called Web 2.0
  • When there's a minor change in a computer program, the version number jumps by a 1/10th of a point. Such as Windows 3.0 to Windows 3.1 This was back when people started getting computers at home and the internet was just a series of message boards, circa 1989. Usually these changes are only noticed by programmers and people who constantly use the programs.
  • Every time there's a major change in programming, the version number jumps a whole number, such as Internet Explorer 6.0 to Internet Explorer 7.0. The average consumer can pick up on these changes which include a whole new look to the program, major improvements to how it works, etc.
Lately, people have been talking about Web 2.0
This is a major change to the internet and it is not really a programming change, meaning some guys in a computer lab didn't re-write how the internet works. Instead, the people who use the internet and write programs that you can use on the internet gradually made improvements until the entire internet changed to a completely different kind of entity.
This change is called Web 2.0 - it's a social network.

So what's the change? Unlike other whole-number changes, you are not aware that you're seeing the new version, but when I explain it you'll say "Aha!"

During the days of Web 1.0, the internet was like an online encyclopedia, online class, and online shopping mall. Consumers went there to get information. Businesses had websites that provided information. That was it.

Web 2.0 is an interactive online community where the consumers take info and give info. Businesses provide info and invite the consumers to talk about it, share it, re-use and re-purpose it, and talk back to the business that originally provided it. Web 2.0 is more of a full-on online conversation.

To fully understand Web 2.0, come back next Wednesday and I'll share some well-known websites that embrace it.

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