Why the term Web 2.0 means nothing

Why the term Web 2.0 means nothing: While I’ve never liked it, I’m beginning to really hate the term Web 2.0. Really. Because when a term starts to mean everything, it means nothing. Suddenly everyone is like Austin Powers, asking, and then answering the question: “What exactly do you do Mr. Number Two?”

Anyone who has read this blog knows I’m passionate about most of the technologies, approaches and the mind-set that have been lumped together under the Web 2.0 umbrella. But “the term” is way past any usefulness when something is described as a “Web 2.0 enterprise application” because it uses ajax (note: not the household cleaner and I’m sure the application is swell with or without calling it Web 2.0).

So, if you’re just now hearing the term “Web 2.0” and you’re wondering what it means, don’t waste your time. The term means anything that someone doesn’t want to sound, you know, not new. This week (and this changes weekly), it seems to mean anything that uses ajax (or any one of a few dozen alternative acronyms) and that can claim to have anything to do with the following: social media, social networking, tags, RSS feeds or mashups — oh, yeah, and best of all, “web app.” If you can use the word “participatory” in describing it, you also have a free pass to Web 2.0 as an adjective.

Ironically (but not surprisingly as, again, it’s the term I don’t like), I’m a big fan of several blogs that cover “Web 2.0” developments. However, as this absurdity spreads, I’m finding my favorite blog on the subject is Go Flock Yourself, a blog that bites all things Web 2.0ish.

(Reminder: My 2006 new year’s resolution is to not whine so much. By the way, I’ve decided to use the term “Blog 2.0” to describe blogs that don’t whine.)