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Web 2.0 in 2007

Web 2.0: Industry or dress code?

April 17, 2007

2 Min Read
Web 2.0 in 2007

8:45 AM -- SAN FRANCISCO -- I spent some time at the Web 2.0 Expo yesterday, which is run jointly by O'Reilly and our own mothership, CMP.

Maybe I've spent far too much time in conferences where people explain to me how they can manipulate physics to drive 40 Gbit/s through shoelaces -- which clearly has some economic value. But I'm finding it hard to get my head around what Web 2.0 is as an industry unto itself. If you're "in" the "Web 2.0" business, what do you do, other than goof off all day long?

So, I've decided to delineate some of the characteristics of Web 2.0 versus conventional reality. Here's a rundown.

  • In conventional reality, there are people who work in "the press," and there is a "press room." At the Web 2.0 conference, I was entertained by the fact that they "closed" the press registration because it "filled up." Well, of course. In Web 2.0, isn't everybody the press?

  • In conventional reality, you have to, at least on occasion, put on a suit and tie to look professional to the outside world. In Web 2.0, nobody cares.

  • In conventional reality, you need to sell something or worry about getting paid. In Web 2.0, you create stuff, and by some magic turn of fortune (a "liquidity event"), the money eventually just starts flowing to you. Maybe this is why you don't have to wear a suit, because you don't really have to sell anything.

  • In conventional reality, people sit down and work. In Web 2.0, people run around chatting with other folks, pointing them to other places on the Internet where they can find even new ways to chat with even more folks. That is, the work is to find new ways to chat with other folks about chatting.

  • In conventional reality, to relax, you sit on the couch and watch TV. In Web 2.0, you store the video stream, manipulate it, create a mashup, and distribute to friends in a social network. Yes, now this is starting to sound like work.

  • Does that mean that in conventional reality, work is work and relaxation is relaxing, but in Web 2.0, relaxation is work?

I have a headache now, I'm going to sleep. In reality. On the couch, after I watch cable TV.

— R. Scott Raynovich, Editor 2.0, Light Reading

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