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Web 2.0 Basics Page 6

As a benefit, these sites may include more information than traditional strict “book” type or “knowledge based” learning centers. Most of these sites work on the premise that communities will band together to provide honest and positive information, rather than work in a malicious or malevolent way.

Wikis are less of a tool for self-promotion than some other common Web 2.0 interfaces like social bookmarking sites and blogs. There primary foundation is a content based site and community of people gathered together to learn and grow. Many are globally based.

To find information in a wiki, one can often rely on an internal search engine that will look for data using key search terms, much like one might look for information on Google or any other mainstream Web application.

Other Applications

Of course, there are many other types of Web applications that quality as Web 2.0 interfaces or platforms for users. Consider for example, YouTube, which allows users from all walks of life to create streamlined video clips to the world at large.

Once again, this site is one that commoners and celebutants alike have attached to. Users can post any type of video clip they like using a simple web cam. Many provide parodies of political figures and celebrities, while others do nothing more than film ordinary events. Not surprisingly however, YouTube and sites like it are among the fastest growing on the Web, because face it… people like to see other people in action.

What We Learned

There are many types of sites one can categorize as part of the growing Web 2.0 base. These sites are user-friendly sites that promote socialization, collaboration and community building. These sites are also frequently used as a platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs to introduce their products and services to the public without blatantly advertising them.

Many Web 2.0 sites, including social bookmarking sites, have existed for centuries. They are only now gaining popularity as people begin to realize the potential for boosting business and page ranks. These sties are also idea for individuals that just want an opportunity to communicate with a global community. Of critical importance in the future will be finding ways to help keep these sites “spam” free and user friendly. As with any technology, Web 2.0 has its criticisms, including the likelihood that the sites will become corrupted by malicious individuals whose sole purpose for posting is “spamming.”

Now that you have a better handle on what Web 2.0 is and how people use it, let’s review some frequently asked questions.

Web 2.0 Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know a little more about Web 2.0 and how you can benefit, let’s explore some less commonly understood questions surrounding this incredible technology.

Q. What is the Semantic Web?

A. Semantic technologies often promote Web 2.0 sites. The Semantic Web enables users to create files explaining relationships between data sets. This technology allows for greater data integration and helps users classify and categorize information. Many also use the term “digital library” to identify these types of sites and this technology. It is the platform from which social bookmarking and other taxonomy type or categorical sites are created from.

Q. What is tagging?

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Consider for example, Wikipedia.org. This is an ideal example of how the Web is transforming. This modern-day encyclopedia of information is a collection of insights and information gathered from people across the world. There is no one “editor” or author, rather people share and collaborate to create a resource that includes insights from all walks of life. The technology supporting this site allows users to collaborate and edit information using some formal and informal guidelines. The community works to approve or disprove new information, but overall, just about anyone can place information on the site.

To understand Web 2.0, it will help to explore some of the common sites and terms used in conjunction with this new web platform. In the next section, we will spend some time exploring the different sites that make up Web 2.0, and how you can use them to your benefit.

Web 2.0 Websites

Web 2.0 websites are not built using the traditional computer “platform” even though many people refer to the technology supporting Web 2.0 as a platform in its own right. Web 2.0 sites are noted by their ability to enhance and promote open communication among users. They operate in a much-decentralized manner than traditional sites do.

To get a better idea of how Web 2.0 works, let’s use the analogy of a corporation. Typically, in a traditional hierarchical corporation, information is passed from the top down. You have the CEO of the company, who may pass information to the controller, who may pass information to accounting managers, who may pass information to line workers. If the company were operating like Web 2.0, everyone would disseminate information horizontally, through shared systems. Meaning, the person on the bottom of the chain of command would have instant access to the same information the person at the top of the organization might.

One marked difference distinguishing Web 2.0 from the web of old is the philosophy that supports it. Web 2.0 encourages freedom of use, and sharing among all users. It supports the disintegration of hierarchical models of use, and instead promotes a horizontal or collaborative approach to knowledge sharing. Knowledge sharing is after all, a collective effort that includes the information and expertise of multiple members within an organization, community or other forum.

Web 2.0 Key Features

Most sites, regardless of their platform, share key features if they are 2.0 sites. Here are some of the key features and benefits associated with this new wave in technology.

1. Web 2.0 encourages greater collaboration among webmasters and visitors, so that interactive communities are created on the Web.

2. Web 2.0 approaches the Web as a platform for building conversation and communities.

3. The “new” Web focuses more on social networking and sharing, through various means including through blogs, wikis and more.

4. The philosophy behind Web 2.0 is one that promotes an “architecture of participation” where all visitors and users have the opportunity to contribute to a site’s development and progress.

5. The Web no longer serves as an entity in itself, but rather as a platform individuals can use to connect with others.

Whether sharing photographs, personal journals or data, Web 2.0 allows users to create communities from scratch, using many promising new technologies. Some examples of Web 2.0 sites include: Craiglist, Skype, del.icio.us. Technorati, Squidoo, Flickr and more. We will talk more about some of these sites later.