My Problem With Web 2.0

October 11th, 2007 | Categories: AJAX, launch, marketing, markets, networks, social media, strategy, trends, widgets, wikis

I really like web 2.0 and social media, but I have a problem. The majority of people don’t know what the heck it is. This means that they are unable to use such technologies. Preaching to the web 2.0 ‘echo chamber’ is great, but it limits growth, thus decreasing potential revenues.

In my opinion, many start-ups with products/services focused solely around web 2.0 are hoping for a successful launch, widespread PR and exposure, then a quick sale to an Internet giant or media mogul. Long-term aspirations are questionable. Even more perplexing are web 2.0 services that aggregate other web 2.0 services.

Simplicity… usability… they’re all I ask for. God bless the companies that make web 2.0 usable. Making it easy for regular folk to harness and leverage the power of these technologies cannot be overstated. I’ve hit on this topic before, but I will continue to do so.

First of all, we need to take a look at the messaging. Web 2.0 is full of jargon. Let’s take a look at some popular web 2.0 terms that a majority of people have likely never heard of:

  • AJAX
  • Widgets
  • RSS 
  • Wikis
  • Mash-ups
  • Podcasting

… and the list goes on. Personally, these terms are second nature to me. But I understand that my parents and friends have no idea what they mean. This needs to change.

Secondly, there needs to be better education around how these technologies can or are being used. The intimidation factor plays a huge role here. Many shy away from web 2.0 due to the seemingly frightening nature of these terms. This is nothing more than an information inefficiency. Bridging the gap is the ultimate goal.

So what needs to be done? What’s the simple solution?

Easy-to-understand messaging and better education are key to the adoption of web 2.0 technologies.

Once this happens (and all the planets align), we can all delve further into this interweb of unlimited possibilities.

Note: For further analysis and commentary, please read this previous post: How Facebook Is Bringing Web 2.0 MainStream.


  1. Michael Says:

    I think that a good website is self explanatory. People use html based website and I doubt that most people understand the technology behind that either.

    Amazon uses ajax some of the time and I doubt that a person needs to understand that to use it.

    The problem is not in education, folks want a purposeful website. People are smarter than you’d like to think.

  2. Joe Rawlinson Says:

    When a site uses web 2.0 terms in their marketing, they exclude the majority of the population from understanding their product.

    I don’t think our non-web2.0 savvy friends and family need to understand all the terms and jargon. They just need tools that are easy to use and work as expected.

  3. Montoya Says:

    When a company brands themselves as “web 2.0,” they are saying, “we don’t have a great product but we hope that we can attach our product to the bandwagon and be successful through the momentum it has.” And you have to look at the products themselves to see how true that is… if there weren’t so many geeks online all day long looking for superfluous little web apps to waste their time with, none of these “web 2.0″ sites would get any users. In the long run all the “web 2.0″ branding does a good job of keeping the rest of the crowd out (the other 99% of people) and marketers don’t care because they are too lazy to market to the demographic that won’t fall for gradients and beta-logos.

  4. MarkWiseman Says:

    If you want to sell a product, you sell the benefits not the underlying technology or the clever things it can do.
    The benefits might be the way it makes you feel, the work it saves you, the money it saves you etc etc.
    And I think a lot of technological innovators forget to consider the benefits from the end-users point of view.

  5. Joe Anderson Says:

    I think most people will have heard of wikis…

  6. Web 2.0 Needs To Be About the Benefits Says:

    […] I’ve written several articles about the problems that web 2.0 is facing if it is looking to break into the mainstream. A small number of companies, most notably Facebook, are doing a good job of ushering in these technologies without scaring regular folk with complicated terminology. […]

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