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Web 2.0: It's ... like your brain on LSD!

But what is it really?

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Friday Poll There's much fretting about what Web 2.0 really is. It's twice as cosmic, but what is it?

Conference co-organizer Tim O'Reilly's first attempt to explain it spanned five pages, and produced the following. Apparently it's a fridge magnet game, and Business Week, which is positioning itself as the indispensable weekly for the Hive Mind, faithfully reprinted it.

But all we saw was little sighs and coughs trying to be words, words trying to be catchphrases, and phrases trying to be paradigm-shifting, world-changing ideas. It still didn't make much sense.

(And by the way - what's "perpetual beta" doing there? In case you missed that ace new concept, it's just floating around on the center-left, ominously close to the large orange rectangle in the middle. Well, sorry guys. Microsoft beat you to that one a long time ago. We've been waiting for the Longhorn "cured version of Windows" for 73 years now. And a usable desktop version of Linux for almost as long.)

Aware of the confusion, Transcendental Tim returned to the challenge, and rushed off this, which is at least a full sentence:

Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an "architecture of participation," and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences.

Author Steven "Emergence" Johnson chipped in with this, another earthy metaphor, that as we noticed, they take to like cats take to catnip:

"The difference between this Web 2.0 model and the previous one is directly equivalent to the difference between a rain forest and a desert."

Which means right now, you're staring at some sand.

"This is good news whether we love poodles or not," he said inexplicably. But Steven wrote a best-selling book called Everything Bad Is Good For You - so maybe that's a bad news. Or is it?

Now social software smoothie Ross Mayfield thinks he's cracked it. In a brilliant blog post, he proclaimed

Web 2.0 is made out of people

That's all I have to say.

He didn't need to say anymore: the cry rang around the blogs. Yes, that's it!

Then we remembered it was the punchline of the movie Soylent Green, where corpses are reconstituted into food. Yeeeuch!

Well, we thought since no one can tell us what it is, except for projecting fantasies of what they think it should be, something must be done, before investors lose their shirts. So we're throwing it open to the "collective intelligence" of El Reg, as no one does funnies next generation global computing architectures quite like you on a Friday.


Web 2.0 is made of ...

 


All you have to do is click on the appropriate link. It contains a Web 1.0 mailto: indicating your preference. Then hit send. Or, you can substitute your own marketing jargon or buzzword, if you're feeling inspired.

The best one gets… oh, something. Good luck. ®

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