Let’s Ban the Phrase “Web 2.0”

By Deane Barker on October 20, 2005

Architecture Astronauts Are Back: Joel Spolsky goes eloquently buckwild on the term “Web 2.0.” Bonus points for the Adam Sandler reference.

The term Web 2.0 particularly bugs me. It’s not a real concept. It has no meaning. It’s a big, vague, nebulous cloud of pure architectural nothingness. When people use the term Web 2.0, I always feel a little bit stupider for the rest of the day. To quote the line from Billy Madison:

Principal: “Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

I too hate that phrase. Maybe because I have no idea what it means. At one time, I thought it specifically referred to Ajax-ified apps, as if “2.0” referred to the “second generation” of Web interfaces or something.

I think Joe knows what it means, but he won’t tell me.

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  1. Web 2.0 == Hype == Please buy into my crippled wiki solution

    I think Web 2.0 means “Make a quick application based on a gimicky idea, substituting the words ‘elegantly simple’ for ‘something anyone could have written in a week’, make a big splash through the blogging echo chamber, pray to a diety that someone will buy into your goofy web-based solution, then fall off the relevance radar”.

    All these “create a todo list” or “create a document” applications have me scratching my head. I don’t want MY data on YOUR server. If I want to create a document, I will use a REAL document creation tool that has real page layout, real spell checking, real font selection, etc. Guess what: there are FREE, excellent cross-platform tools for this sort of thing. These web 2.0 apps are solutions to problems that don’t exist wrapped in lots of graphically nice eye candy and hyped like crazy. Run your own server, use real tools and learn how to use ssh!

  2. What’s in a name.. ??

    Their was a shift going from sites with empty images and tables, to divs and css. And now their is a shift from the last to ajax-ified sites. Of course it’s a vague term. But you better have a name then call it ‘the new sites which contains pure xhtml and ajax like behaviour’. So what’s wrong with ‘web 2.0’, it’s a name , and most people who have to know, know what it means. The same was going on with Ajax. Every one knows what it meant, but still people didn’t think it was a good name. It’s not in the name, it’s what the name stands for.

    Conclusion, I think it’s good to have a term ( whatever term ) to describe what’s goin on. the term defines itself if it’s goin to be used.

  3. Conclusion, I think it’s good to have a term ( whatever term ) to describe what’s goin on. the term defines itself if it’s goin to be used.

    I’d have to agree with Deane on this one. With the standards compliance phase from the past two years, the buzzwords were XHTML and CSS and you knew exactly what it was referring to. With the latest AJAX craze, you know exactly what that term refers to. I don’t have a clue what Web 2.0 means and what it encompasses. I agree it is good to have a term but it should have a consistent definition. Web 2.0 is an even more ambiguous term than SOA and all the hype that ensued.

  4. It seems to me what is trying to be communicated by the term is something equivilent to the following expression:

     RSS is to blogs what Web 2.0 is to the web

    Sure, it’s hype, but if it makes a tech bubble, we all know how to profit from it this time.

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