Web2.0 refers to websites on the World Wide Web (WWW) which focus on user-generated content, usability and ease of use, and interoperability between one website and other products, devices, or systems. To be perfectly clear, the term does not refer to an update of any specific language or application but rather; a change in the process involved with how developers web pages were created and used.
What this basically meant is that a Web2.0 website could allow end users more flexibility with each other through the use of communicating via social media dialogue as the creators of their own content. This allowed for a virtual community between end users versus the previous Web1.0 method which involved users passively viewing of content online and not having much of an online community. In response to this, Web2.0 websites blew up worldwide and became very prominent over the alternative and some of the most popular types are social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, video-sharing websites such as YouTube, web applications, blogs, wikis, and so much more.
Web2.0 vs Web1.0
The key features of Web2.0 include Folksonomy (this is users freely classifying information as they please which leads to things like “tagging” of websites, images, videos, and links), a rich user experience which focuses on dynamic and responsive content for users, user participation which allows end-users to create their own content and build a community, software as a service (SaaS) which introduced web applications, and mass participation which made the internet more broad and gain a wider host of users.
Conversely, Web1.0’s features were not remotely as stellar. Web pages were static instead of dynamic which meant they were not interactive nor responsive, web content was provided by a server’s file system rather than a relational database management system (RDBMS), pages weren’t built in dynamic languages and thus, were incapable of building web applications, HTML 3.2 for formatting content into tables and frames and sending HTML forms via email, and GIF buttons which advertised web browsers, text editors, operating systems, and etc.
At a simple glance, some of the changes are obvious and clearly an improvement from Web1.0 to Web2.0, such as dynamic web pages; however, some might not be so easily realized. For instance; because Web2.0 sported dynamic, responsive, and interactive web pages, they also eliminated the method of promoting advertisements through a GIF button. Instead, automatic text, image, audio, and video were used for interactive advertisements. Some other more nuanced changes are because Web1.0 was static, it was mainly used by hobbyists and hackers and as such, many resources and content were catered to them specifically. Thanks to Web2.0 broadening its scope to a wider group, this has led to content catered to more people by the people and other like-minded.
Adobe Flash was a notable plugin created as well which helped realized Web2.0 that was capable of performing many things before HTML5. The most common of these was Adobe Flash’s ability to embed streaming multimedia into HTML and thus; web pages; although in the modern-day world, Flash has been pretty much left behind thanks to the advent of HTML5 and Adobe Flash’s security flaws.
Because of the feature of mass participation in the concept of Web2.0, the social web became a very dominant and popular thing. This web was not just simply any person who was a part of some social media website, blog, or online community either; but also extends to those who partook in podcasting, tagging, curating with RSS, creating and/or managing wikis, social bookmarking, and web content voting.
As a matter of fact, the term became so prominent that a variety of businesses started appending 2.0 unto the name of their products and businesses in an attempt to advertise their new features from Web2.0 technologies. This list included Library2.0, Enterprise2.0, Publishing2.0, and many many more.
Marketing, in particular, has seen a huge revolution thanks to Web2.0 as has become interactive. Companies privately owned, for charity, and even government institutes, have all sought an online presence for the sake of taking advantage of Web2.0 features to build their own communities and thus; market their services and products. This doesn’t end there either as tourism is often marketed through social media platforms as they are more visually-focused and captivating to would-be tourists. Many businesses and even countries now make most of their revenue just from online marketing alone thanks to Web2.0 and its presence is expected to only grow even further in the future.