Thursday, January 04, 2007

Too many snipers in the Web 2.0 clan

Pete Cashmore over at Mashable* pooh-poohs the use of the term Web 2.0 yet again today in what has become a rather boring and elitist trend, in my opinion. Michael Arrington has also been on the Web-2.0-is-passe bandwagon and of course any bandwagon that Mike gets on is bound to have a lot of passengers.

I think the chorus of snark at the Web 2.0 phrase rather misses the point. Who elected Michael or Pete - or Richard MacManus or Dave Winer or Doc Searls or whoever else wants to take a shot - as Final Arbiters Of What We Call Things? Most of the original push away was in response to the perception that Tim O'Reilly was trying to marshall the phrase for his own purposes, but in doing so the naysayers have puffed themselves up as self-appointed Phrase Police.

If the people want to hear about Web 2.0, and they obviously do if Pete's story on Wikipedia search phrases is true, then who is qualified to try to re-educate the masses? Web 2.0 is supposed to be about bottom-up control over content, not elitist broadcasting. Web 2.0 is a perfectly useful phrase, and its fuzzy definition is actually good for the industry because it does not limit its development or pigeonhole it into something that can be marginalised.

I'll continue to use it, especially on Tinfinger which now has a Web 2.0 news page which is slowly filling it up with new names harvested from a batch of sites I fed in. If your name is on that page and you feel constricted by being lumped in with the 2.0 crowd, then tough luck because that's how the world perceives you. Embrace your inner Web 2.0, people!

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