Web 2.0 from the communicator’s viewpoint

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When I lead workshops, seminars and other professional development events that address social media and organizational communication, I always ask who’s heard of the term ‘Web 2.0.’

Usually, a reasonable number have, often as much as 20 percent of participants if the overall audience is a non-geeky crowd.

Things then get interesting when I show an image like the one above (originally created by Markus Angermeier) and ask if anyone can describe what Web 2.0 means.

Even the non-geeky folk have tended to get tied up with the technology of it all, using words like ‘RSS,’ ‘platform’ and ‘applications.’

Recently, though, I’ve been hearing some descriptions that get closer to a better understanding of what Web 2.0 means (as opposed to what Web 2.0 supposedly is) from a communicator’s point of view rather than from a technologist’s.

While not wholly there, those descriptions increasingly reference people more than tech tools.

Once I hear that kind of talk, I’ll show a slide like this:

That then forms the visual focus for a little bit of discussion designed to help the participants in the workshop or seminar get a better sense of Web 2.0 from the communicator’s point of view.

It’s about people, not the technology, a point pretty well made by someone at Nokia last November with a youthful-focused video that explained Web 2.0 in very easy-to-understand terms, and which was uploaded to YouTube.

I have a copy of that video, grabbed before someone at Nokia removed it from YouTube a few days later.

And this is the web, so that video is still at large, such as this example at GigaOm.

Anyway, Web 2.0 is a relatively complex topic, especially when there is no wholly clear and universally accepted technical definition.

Take a look at Chris Lynn’s concise video interviews with six tech bloggers and journalists and see how they describe Web 2.0.

They talk a lot of tech, but they’re talking about people.

If you’re a communicator, thinking about the tech in terms of people and what it all means in that context will help you get a sense of Web 2.0.

Don’t take too long trying to figure it out, though – there’s already increasing talk about Web 3.0.

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