Web 2.0, we hardly knew you

It's hard to read a story about the Internet without finding some reference to Web 2.0 - the catch-all term for the sea-change move of digital media towards social networking and community-driven content such as Wikipedia. Snappy movies have even been made about it. Others wonder if we should all be discussing Web 3.0, whatever that is.

Count Atlantic Monthly writer Michael Hirschorn as one of the non-believers. In an article entitled "The Web 2.0 Bubble: Why the social-media revolution will go out with a whimper", Hirschorn likens the social networking craze to the frenzies over instant messanger chatting and push technology, which in the first example simply became one tool among many and in the second simply fizzled.

Particularly amusing is Hirschorn's example of the sometimes-awkward corporate adoption of Web 2.0-style social networking:

The wave, inevitably, has reached the more hipsterish suburbs of Corporateville. Doc Martens’s new social-networking site, Freedm2.com, encourages you to “make art, make fun of art, shock, express yourself, entertain.” A semiliterate, dissociative, generationally correct vagueness permeates everything. “Do whatever it is you do,” the site urges, “and the people who are already out there doing it, will make the best stuff happen.” I counted a few dozen users during my most recent visit.

It's an interesting read and worth investigating for anyone thinking of moving into the territory of MySpace or Facebook.