Design for Digital Media Environments – Web 2.0

One of our lecturers, Rob, recently informed us about the more theoretical and critical side of our unit by telling us more about Web 2.0 and its history.

Web 2.0 is the current form of the online, Web-based technology that users around the world can interact with. The full term “Web 2.0” was coined and popularised by Tim O’Reilly in 2004. Although the term “2.0” suggests that we’re using an upgraded version of the Web, the term refers to the new features and changes that were gradually added to the technology over time. These important new features include faster network speeds, social media, user-generated content, uploading and sharing information and data. The following are only a few examples of the concepts and websites that Web 2.0 has contributed to the World Wide Web.

  • User-generated content in the form of text (blogging), images (Instagram and Pinterest), video and audio (YouTube).
  • Wikis, which are solely dependent on user-generated content and require users to collaborate by contributing and editing information (Wikipedia).
  • Social networking websites (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) that encourage users to make as many social connections to other users/organisations as possible.
  • Crowdfunding websites (e.g. Kickstarter) in which all the main projects posted to them are dependent on user participation and collaboration in the form of donations. This is done to reach specific money goals and potentially make projects a reality.

These features of Web 2.0 indicate that the web has gradually evolved into a worldwide tool for online communication, collaboration and interactivity.

Pictured above is a word cloud, featuring a wide range of words and concepts currently associated with Web 2.0. While many of these examples (e.g. “Focus on Simplicity” and “Joy of Use”) are generally considered advantages, there are disadvantages associated with this current state of Web 2.0. For example, as new forms of online communication and data storage emerged, so have new ways of phishing and hacking into online accounts. Other acts such as cyber-bullying have become more common due to the introduction and expansion of the social software of Web 2.0. Services such as Google and YouTube frequently issue new security methods (e.g. security keys) to prevent these online offences from being committed.

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