Many people who use the internet daily run into the term web 2.0 and many of those people don’t know what it means. This is actually very understandable considering that for most people the internet does not seem any different than when they were first exposed to it. In order to truly understand web 2.0, it is necessary to understand the difference between the internet as it is today, and as it was back during the first internet boom of the late 90’s.
When the dot.com boom first started, it was driven by investors who saw the potential of the new frontier of the web. As companies started pouring money, other companies quickly followed suit in an attempt to stay even with their competitors. Unfortunately, as we all know, this didn’t work out the way many people envisioned which led to the dot.com crash. However, there were several companies that learned some valuable lessons and would become part of the framework of web 2.0.
If someone were to analyze most of the successful sites that are on the internet today, there are a few factors that they all have in common. Chief among these factors is the fact that they are user driven; meaning that use of the website is the primary motivation for visitors not shopping. Even large shopping sites include a high amount of user interaction through forums, blogs, and reviews. By providing this usability these sites ensure sticky visitors, which is the holy grail of any successful internet business.
The second common factor that most successful sites have in common is some form of social media. While there are many sites devoted solely to social media, any site that expects to be successful provides some way for their visitors to engage in the social experience such as profiles, messaging systems and other common social media applications. By creating a sense of community and combining it with usability sticky customers almost become a certainty and that is the core of web 2.0.
In the end, the term web 2.0 simply represents a different way of doing business on the internet. However, while the concept is simple, its execution can be quite difficult. Yet if someone is serious about being competitive on the internet, the principles of web 2.0 must be learned and used effectively, or there is little chance of any real success.