I own an Internet marketing agency, and as a result, have an understanding of Web 2.0 and its practical use in Web Site promotion, and Search Engine Optimization, however, I personally do not understand the value of the phenomenon of Web 2.0 itself.
I know that some of the big boys including Google, Yahoo and News Corp. have invested a whole lot of money in Web 2.0, even collaborated on standards, so there must be use for it, but I, for one have absolutely no idea what that might be.
First lets define, as best we can, what Web 20 is. Supposedly it’s the continuing development of the Web as a collaborative effort, the implementation of applications that permit users to generate their own content rather than leaving it to a select few who are schooled in the art and science of Web development. It is the creation of content by the viewer
Okay, that’s nice, but back in Web 1.0 we had forums, which did exactly that, and which today, are still the most effective way, I think of collaborating and disseminating information. Blogs and feeds are nice, but they can’t compare to the forum structure.
Social bookmarking. I remember how I felt about the concept was first introduced and how I felt about storing my bookmarks publicly. I thought it was absurd. The places I visit on the Web, or prod my interests are private. I have no desire to tell the world where I’ve been and what I have been into, and no interest or, need to critique every website I visit.
Now, I understand how the concept of bookmarking and tagging (which are just keywords), can benefit the search engines. I can see how this is ready-made spider food for the big boys, but as a system of cataloging and searching unto itself, give me Google over Tag Clouds any day.
I have a teenage daughter she lives on MySpace. Personally I see no value in it. I understand how teenagers can be attracted to MySpace. To teenagers socializing is everything. But to the adults of the world, what the hell?
I remember all those people who stayed with AOL for so many years because they liked their little groups and chatting back and forth with the friends they’d met in their little walled community. I always thought it was trite. I still do and I think that social networking groups are nothing more than this millennium’s version of that AOL kiddie land.
RSS feeds, I’ve really never understood why anybody would want information forced on them. Now let me qualify that, I remember a few years back, one of the cable news stations offered a desktop news service. I subscribed for time. But in a short while I realized I was losing control of my life. Pushed news became a distraction and an impediment in the management of my work schedule.
Now, I can see how feeds set up on a particular page like My Yahoo can have value if you want to set it up as your home page, the place where you go when you have the time and inclination to get the news, whether traditional or grassroots created. I think that’s awesome. Beyond that, I think, “ So what.”
Blogging I do not know why Google prefers blogs over static content. One would think that if search engines would like to catalog the Web they would need static pages, to be most effective.
I do not understand why Google supposedly wants changing content. I believe changing content should be cataloged in a place where changing content is known to reside. A blog directory, a directory of current commentary by individual writers is definitely beneficial, but I see no reason for it to be intermingled with static objective information.
If I want to learn about home remedies for poison ivy, I would prefer a static Web page listing all the traditional treatments for scratching that itch. I am not really interested in reading about Maggie Jone’s rash. If Maggie discovers a new treatment, she can write the author, or post it to the appropriate forum.
I’m not saying that blogging is not important. I blog. It’s for those people who care about Maggie Jones’s rash and whatever information can be gleaned from the comments about Maggie Jones’s rash, but once again I think that it can be accomplished more easily with the information residing in its proper place . That’s just my feeling
It could be that I’m getting old, it could be that I’ve been on the web for so long and had particular expectations of how the “Information Superhighway” would evolve, and Candy Land was not among my list of possible outcomes.
Of all the Web 2.0 elements, the one that makes the most sense is video. Video is an effective teaching tool, and a very effective way of disseminating information, but the way that the video hosting sites are set up, with friends and comments and ratings and channels seems bit childish and superfluous.
I’ve always enjoyed and benefited from Web Sites that contained and featured multiple articles about a given subject. Exchange articles for videos and you have an even more effective method of communication. But the other stuff, the Web 2.0 stuff, I just don’t see the point.
I may be wrong, but I think I can see the Emperor’s ding-a-ling.
Jeff Wild, founder and president Artitude Inc. and Strategic Web Success has been helping businesses achieve success on the Web since 1994. He’s a master of traditional traffic generating techniques as well as innovative Web 2.0 strategies.
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