The term Web 2.0 refers to new social applications and methods of communication implemented over the Internet. Most of the technology and structure behind Web 2.0 has been used since the first days of the web (the end of the twentieth century). The concepts of Web 2.0, however, are new, and they refer to the social or commercial advancement of all web users. The combination of multiple Web sites into one, the creation of online communities and social networks, the spread of web services, the increased communication over wikis and online organizations—these are the faces of Web 2.0, representing the integration of social exchange with Internet capabilities.
The Web 2.0 language and concept was popularized by Tim O'Reilly as a definition for the ways in which the Internet was being used by business and society and a forecast of future advances in e-commerce and social networking. In the first years of the Internet, people used its services as individuals or corporations, taking care of personal needs in two-way communication channels. Now, with the newer online applications, the world wide web can embrace Web 2.0 philosophies of social interaction, group participation, and highly complex channels of trade and innovation. O'Reilly calls Google the “standard bearer” for Web 2.0, with its concentration on services and continuous improvement to meet user needs.
WEB 2.0 FOR BUSINESS
Although the basic technology remains unchanged from previous online systems, business benefits from Web 2.0 are seen as manifold. Web 2.0 platforms are meant to encourage ideas, increase efficiency, help teams reach their goals more easily, and improve collaboration throughout the company. Other terms have sprung from Web 2.0, including “Marketing 2.0,” “PR 2.0,” “Jobs 2.0,” and “Identity 2.0,” all attempting to create a more flexible, intuitive, people-friendly way of reaching goals. Companies are beginning to depend on “2.0” concepts to receive
input from consumers concerning taste, demand, and needed services, a bottom-up approach that characterizes the newer web platforms and is commonly referred to as “Enterprise 2.0”. Other companies may wish to use Web2.0 ideas to combine departmental tools into corporation-wide events that are accessible by all employees.
Specific types of Web 2.0 advancements include:
- LinkedIn: This social networking site is made for business networking and resume-spreading. It is the largest business-focused social network, and one of the few Web 2.0 applications to prove profitable for its owners.
- Facebook: Though it started as a college network, it has expanded to become a vast social system of sharing information and ideas among added online “friends.”
- Twitter: Like instant messaging (IM), Twitter shares instant communication between members, but it is designed to make running comments, such as while viewing a specific movie or sitting in the same meeting.
- Dopplr: This keeps track of employees on business trips and updates peers as to their current location.
Modern advances in Internet speed allow Web 2.0 services to operate quickly enough to be useful for business, unlike earlier stages of the Internet when the same interactions were possible but hampered by bandwidth limits. Now, the more users that social networks and collaborative web functions have, the more efficiently they tend to function. Suggestions and influence created by group participation tend to have positive effects in today's online world, as themes emerge and are built upon by social interaction. Indeed, one of the emerging capabilities Web 2.0 presents is open API, or application program interface, which allows anyone to participate in maintaining social network sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Google platforms.
POTENTIAL PITFALLS 2.0
Web 2.0 applications, however, require more upkeep than older Internet functions. Social networks and larger online Web sites require highly competent data management. Companies must also have plans for steady improvement and constant innovation to meet consumer demands in a fast-changing environment. Web 2.0 security issues can also be an issue in some businesses protective of their information.
Bicknell, David. “Make Web 2.0 Deliver Business Benefits.” http://www.ComputerWeekly.com. Reed Business Information Ltd, 2008.
Kirkpatrick, David. “Web 2.0 Gets Down to Business.” http://www.CNNMoney.com, 2008. Available from: http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/19/technology/web2.0_goofing.fortune/index.htm.
O'Reilly, Tim. “What is Web 2.0?” O'Reilly. O'Reilly Media Inc, 2008.
“Web 2.0: Beyond the Buzz Words.” http://www.ComputerWeekly.com Reed Business Information Ltd, 2007.