Web tools have transformed the way users interact with the digital world. Over the past ten years, we have moved from web 1.0 to Web 2.0.
Web 2.0 sites may allow users to interact and collaborate with each other in a social media dialogue as creators of user-generated content in a virtual community, in contrast to Web sites where people are limited to the passive viewing of content. Examples of Web 2.0 include social networking sites, blogs, wikis, folksonomies, video sharing sites, hosted services, Web applications, and mashups.
Whether Web 2.0 is substantively different from prior Web technologies has been challenged by World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who describes the term as jargon. His original vision of the Web was “a collaborative medium, a place where we [could] all meet and read and write”.
There is no definite, agreed-upon definition of Web 2.0, however, certain characteristics are associated with it. Briefly, Web 1.0 centers around users as passive consumers of information from websites that were largely run by corporations or governments who use their websites to disseminate information one-way. One of the most significant transformations in the emergence of Web 2.0 is the ability of the user to actively contribute and participate in online environments.
With Web 2.0, users have the ability and presence to:
- create, share, and publish content using tools like blogs, websites, and media sharing sites (like YouTube)
- re-use each other’s content (e.g. through Creative Commons licensing or mashup tools)
- rate and comment on each other’s content
- edit each other’s content (e.g. on websites and wikis)
- interact socially and in online communities