Web 2.0

The concept of “Web 2.0” began with a conference brainstorming session between O’Reilly and MediaLive International. Dale Dougherty, web pioneer and O’Reilly VP, noted that far from having “crashed”, the web was more important than ever, with exciting new applications and sites popping up with surprising regularity. What’s more, the companies that had survived the collapse seemed to have some things in common. Could it be that the dot-com collapse marked some kind of turning point for the web, such that a call to action such as “Web 2.0” might make sense? We agreed that it did, and so the Web 2.0 Conference was born.

Web 2.0 is a term describing the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users. These concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways software developers and end-users use the Web.

According to OReilly “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform”.

O’Reilly provided examples of companies or products that embody these principles in his description of his four levels in the hierarchy of Web 2.0-ness:

  • Level-3 applications, the most “Web 2.0”-oriented, only exist on the Internet, deriving their effectiveness from the inter-human connections and from the network effects that Web 2.0 makes possible, and growing in effectiveness in proportion as people make more use of them. O’Reilly gave as examples eBay, Craigslist, Wikipedia, del.icio.us, Skype, dodgeball, and AdSense.
  • Level-2 applications can operate offline but gain advantages from going online. O’Reilly cited Flickr, which benefits from its shared photo-database and from its community-generated tag database.
  • Level-1 applications operate offline but gain features online. O’Reilly pointed to Writely (now Google Docs & Spreadsheets) and iTunes (because of its music-store portion).
  • Level-0 applications work as well offline as online. O’Reilly gave the examples of MapQuest, Yahoo! Local, and Google Maps (mapping-applications using contributions from users to advantage could rank as “level 2”).

Non-web applications like email, instant-messaging clients, and the telephone fall outside the above hierarchy.

Web 2.0 websites typically include some of the following features/techniques:

The Web As Platform

Like many important concepts, Web 2.0 doesn’t have a hard boundary, but rather, a gravitational core. You can visualize Web 2.0 as a set of principles and practices that tie together a veritable solar system of sites that demonstrate some or all of those principles, at a varying distance from that core.

Web2MemeMap
Figure 1 shows a “meme map” of Web 2.0 that was developed at a brainstorming session during FOO Camp, a conference at O’Reilly Media. It’s very much a work in progress, but shows the many ideas that radiate out from the Web 2.0 core.
Image Source: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html

A variety of Web 2.0 tools and technologies:

Publish and Disseminate Information

Seven Blogging Tools Reviewed
There are a number of good blogging tools, but choosing among them can be confusing. In this report, we’ll take a detailed look at the top blogging tools and outline key considerations for selecting a platform.
A Technical Guide to Anonymous Blogging
If you have reason to be worried that what you’re posting could endanger your safety, the security measures outlined in this article will help you keep your identity a secret.
Easy Ways to Publish Your Own RSS Feeds
RSS feeds are a simple, inexpensive way to deliver news and announcements to your constituents and supporters, helping them stay active and involved in your cause. We’ll show you tools you can use to get started.
Thirteen Tips for Effective Tagging
A tag is a collaborative labeling system that allows you to categorize online content like Web pages, photos, and links. Learn why tagging is a valuable tool for your nonprofit — and how to choose tags effectively.

Network and Build Community

What Can Social Networking Do for Your Organization?
Social networking platforms like Flickr, Friendster, and MySpace give nonprofits a forum for meeting like-minded organizations and potential supporters, and provide a medium for spreading their messages beyond the immediate community.
Citizen Journalism Movement Gives More Power to the People
Is the mainstream media overlooking a story or an issue important to your cause? Rise up, nonprofits, through citizen journalism, a new form of reporting driven by people rather than large news agencies.
Interplast: Harnessing Technology to Help Heal
In addition to providing free reconstructive surgeries to children with disabilities and adults with no access to specialized care, Interplast works to educate local surgeons around the world through its international online forum. Learn how this Web site is empowering doctors and transforming patients’ lives.

Collaborate with Others

Exploring the World of Wikis
Wikis — collaborative Web sites that allow users to change the content of pages easily — can help your organization share information. Learn how wikis work, what wiki-creation software and services are out there, and whether a wiki makes sense for your nonprofit.
Eight Tools to Keep Your Team Connected
How do you coordinate a team of 20 volunteers providing support to 83 organizations in 14 countries — all from one location? Veteran eRider manager Teresa Crawford shares eight tried-and-true applications for keeping far-flung workers connected.
Wikispaces Plus Plan
The Wikispaces Plus Plan offers organizations a hosted wiki with 2-GB storage, unlimited users, edits, and messages. A $10 one-year subscription is available to qualifying nonprofits through TechSoup Stock.

Share Your Stories with the World

How to Record, Edit, and Promote a Podcast
Podcasts — digital audio files posted to the Web for anyone to download and listen to — are a useful, affordable way for nonprofits to expand their reach and further their missions. We’ll walk you through the process of creating and posting your own podcasts.
Digital Storytelling: A Tutorial in 10 Easy Steps
Learn more about the powerful medium of digital storytelling, which allows you to create narratives using images, video, and sound.
Witnessing the Power of Digital Video
Witness has helped human-rights groups use digital camcorders to document abuses in more than 60 countries around the globe. But the organization says that the era of video advocacy is just beginning.
Understanding Video-Sharing Sites’ Terms of Service
We scoured lengthy agreements of the most popular sites like YouTube and Google Video to help you figure out where to post your videos.
BAVC’s Interactive Learning Series
To learn more about this topic, nonprofits can purchase DVDs that cover Flash MX, digital storytelling, and video preservation techniques. All of the videos are available at a discount on TechSoup Stock.

Customize and Create Your Own Tools

Mashups: An Easy, Free Way to Create Custom Web Apps
Mashups are opening up new possibilities for nonprofits, allowing them to combine online data from multiple sources to create customized, interactive Web applications. Find out how.
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3 Responses

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