Defining Web 2.0 will take away the viral mojo – or, when something means nothing, it means everything

Tim O’Reilly is the individual who is [choose one: (a) credited, (b) blamed] with first using the term Web 2.0 to blend together a few meteaphors into a a trade-markable (at least for seminars) notion. While he’s talked about it a lot, he’s now trying to define it:

“Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them. (This is what I’ve elsewhere called “harnessing collective intelligence.”)”

My observation: If he’d started out this way, no one would be using the term. As much as I dislike the term, for several years I’ve observed that is has been extremely helpful in the viral-growth of the “Web 2.0 brand” that the term was allowed to grow up around the notion that any Ajax features added or rounded fonts used in the design or “friend me” actions enabled is enough to make something Web 2.0 — that and a mention on TechCrunch.

(rexblog flashback: (November 20, 2005) “Why the term Web 2.0 means nothing.”)

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