Not so fast Web 2.0 …


Web 2.0, we’ve come a long way. From Zuckerberg, to Yalestation Degrees (remember that?) to that kid Zuckerberg ripped off — it’s been a wild ride.

Remember when The Wall first appeared? When you had a Friendster account? When you first picked a book based only on Amazon user reviews? And now look:

1) I can follow my social network through a screensaver.
2) I can design my own youtube
2) I can Twitter my Flikr while friendfeeding my RSSed Facebook mini-feed … all through an open-sourced SMS picture messaging application platform! (Invite only, of course)

It’s time. Let’s put this baby to bed. Bring on Web 3.0. Right…?

Not so fast kiddos. I think we still have some work to do. Web 2.0

What I can’t easily and reliably do with Web 2.0

1) Publish/find an aggregated web presence: Consider your web presence: There’s your random high school awards, your various social networking profiles (how did I get on 4 of them?), a couple blogs (some/all dead), website comments, that gag wikipedia article, and youtube videos all scattered throughout the web. A half-hour on Google can piece this all together, but shouldn’t there be an easier way? Not only should the narcisist in me be able to publish (and account for) my aggregated web presence, but the stalker in me should be able to do the same for anyone else. In terms of the technology this is probably not too hard for Boutros Boutros Ghalii. Tougher for John Smith.

2) Expand my real-life social network: Wasn’t this the point of social networking to begin with? I’ve asked several people whether they’ve forged a flesh-and-blood friendship through an online resource . Save the online daters, the answer always NADA . Social networks are good at helping maintain existing friendships, but no one has invented a compelling way of meeting new people online. In theory, all you need is there. What’s missing is purely cultural.

3) Easily create and participate in micro networks: A social universe consists of a series of overlapping micro networks. Not only does one interact differently with classmates, co-workers and friends, but the overlap in the group further complicates the issue. The current popular social networks are blunt objects. The micro network has yet to be successfully replicated and reinforced online. I want to interact in a diffrent way online with my family, my best friends, and people who I peripherally know. This is all about low-maintenance customization and automated recognition of strength/type of social bonds.

4) It’s X-night and I don’t have plans/people. Some nights I have something cool to do, but lack the right people to do it with (and they don’t necessarily have to be people I already know). Other nights, there are the right people but nothing cool to do. We have demand. We have supply. There’s no good way to facilitate the transaction.

The problem I see with Web 2.0 is that everyone is so focused on the technology and no one is thinking enough about encouraging people to interact in a way that brings out the true value out of the technology. The technology already exists to do all of the above. Someone needs to move the culture. My Web 2.0 start-up sounds like this: “I’m going to use the same old platforms that have been perfectly sufficient since 2006, but try to change people’s mindsets and usage patterns.”

Then let’s bring on Web 3.0.


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One Response to “Not so fast Web 2.0 …”

  1. Santi Says:

    Phil – just one point on #2; no, the idea behind social networks (at least the big ones) is *not* to expand your real-life network. Rather, their vision is to map, as effectively as possible, your social graph. Now, if you want to have a discussion on how a real-life-expanding network would look like, that’s a different story. I should also say that that’s a “richness-beyond-belief” story.

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