A Jumble of Thoughts on Web 2.0

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Written as a preassignment for Governor's School in response to [The New Wisdom of the Web http://www.newsweek.com/id/45976] from Newsweek

This wisdom of the crowds idea is very powerful. I was deeply involved with it in the summers after 8th and 9th grade when I was editing Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the poster child of collective knowledge. In 10th grade, I tried to harvest the collective knowledge with Tecker, an online question and answer service like Yahoo Answers. Tecker never really caught on, but it was the perfect project for me to learn PHP. Also my personal website, ThePlaz.com is a wiki. No one ever really helped me edit it or provide constructive comments. (I’ve noticed that almost no one in my high school is willing to participate – or at least it is very hard – this is why the wide community of the web comes it. And why affinity groups like this one work well.)

Open APIs really help you build innovation AND expand your services reach. People build tools you would have never thought of and it helps lock people in to your service. It’s a win-win situation for you and the API user.

Data portability: Data portability is important for users. But how does it fit in for web site owners. It makes it harder to leave, but also easier to switch to your service. Also in the past people always felt that having an entire closed platform was best. The biggest problem was that those systems didn’t generally catch on. Look at SD card vs Sony MemoryStick. What is everyone using? I would never buy a camera without an SD card reader since I already have a pile of SD cards and readers for all of my computers.

I once saw an article that talked about how Google was using these openness principles. It came down that it was best to be totally open when you were not the market leader. For example, Google’s Open Social and Android platforms are both markets Google is trying to get into. But Google is not really open about its core businesses: advertising and search.

Flickr: is it profitable? How do you pay the bills? The founders sold out to Yahoo!, but does it make money for Yahoo? You need to have revenue to cover expenses and continue building the site.

Web 2.0 can be used for education and healthcare. For example, my open source project SeniorQuoter, moves senior quote collection onto the web. SeniorQuoter could also show those quotes on the web or collect other things such as pictures or videos for the yearbook or yearbook website. Also with education, a better system could be created for turning in, and sharing school work. Existing web 2.0 sites like Basecamp could be used in school group projects to ease communications. In my essay for this program, I talked about wikis, which could be built up by classes over the years to help students review. One thing missing in schools is sharing your work with others or building on a pre existing foundations. Schools never tell you to build on other people’s work. Building on other peoples work is a core tenet of Web 2.0 I believe. In addition, in jobs you often must continue the work of your predecessors.

The viral aspect is really important. As the owner of a Facebook application with 700,000+ users and no advertising budget, that is the application grows. But building something which will be successful virally is far easier said than done. Often you think something will spread, but it won't. You have to have the tools in place in order to help it grow (and the server capacity in order not to block growth)

Web 2.0 is a great name for a new set of tools which take advantage of our real world friends and work at lightening speed on many different devices.