What is 'Web 2.0'

Web 2.0 describes the current state of the web, with more user-generated content and usability for end users, compared to its earlier incarnation. This new version of the web, in general, refers to the web applications that have transformed following the dotcom bubble.

BREAKING DOWN 'Web 2.0'

Web 2.0 does not refer to any technical upgrades to the internet, rather, it simply refers to a shift in how it is used. It describes the new age of the internet – a higher level of information sharing and interconnectedness among participants. This new version allows users to actively participate in the experience and not just act as passive viewers who intake information. 

Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0

Web 1.0 is used to describe the first stage of the World Wide Web. At this point, there were few content creators, as most of those using the internet were consumers. At this point, static pages were common instead of dynamic HTML, which incorporates interactive and animated websites with a specific coding or language. Content in this stage came from a server’s filesystem rather than a database management system. Users were able to sign online guestbooks, and HTML forms were sent via email. 

Examples of internet sites that are classified as Web 1.0 are Britannica Online, personal websites and mp3.com. These websites are generally static websites with limited functionality and flexibility.

Meanwhile, Web 2.0, a term that first came into use in 1999, became a system in which it actively engaged the user. Here, people were encouraged to provide content, rather than just viewing it. People were now able to publish articles and comments, and it became possible to create user accounts on different sites, therefore increasing participation. Web 2.0 also gave rise to apps, self-publishing platforms like WordPress as well as social media and everything related to it, such as sharing, liking and tagging. 

Some examples of Web 2.0 sites now include Wikipedia, blog sites and Bittorrent, which all transformed the way the same information was shared and delivered.

Web 2.0 and Social Media 

The social aspect of the web consists of a number of platforms and tools to allow users to engage and interact with one another by sharing thoughts, perspectives and opinions. Users can do this by taking part in podcasts, social networking, polls, and social bookmarking. They can also participate by blogging, tagging, sharing and liking. 

Another common way to encourage and engage users to participate is through wikis — a huge difference from sources like Britannica Online. While Britannica relies on experts who have specific credentials like degrees in the subjects they are editing, a wiki (like Wikipedia) relies on open source material, which means that the people providing the content do not have to have any expertise in the area they are editing. 

Pros and Cons of Web 2.0

The development of technology to its current state allows us to share our thoughts and opinions with others, thus allowing us to expand our horizons and opening up the world. It also promotes a world of collaboration, allowing multiple users to contribute content to one platform.

But there are a lot of disadvantages to having such an open forum. Through the expansion of social media, we have seen an increase in online stalking, cyberbullying, doxing, identity theft and other online crimes. There is also the threat of misinformation spreading among users, whether that's through open source information sharing sites or on social media. 

Web 2.0 in the Future?

Some experts are saying that this version of the web, or Web 2.0, is just a passing, transitional phase, which will give rise to another stage. They are calling this Web 3.0. This will be an even more established version that they call the Semantic Web. This version will be tailored to become more intuitive in order to suit the user's needs. 

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