What’s next after Web 2.0? Cloud Computing? Maybe. The Semantic Web? Possibly. The problem with defining what’s next, is that Web 2.0 wasn’t a distinct new technology but is better described as a social movement. The technologies that sprung up to facilitate this new model of user interaction were a collection of re-purposed old technologies with some new, but I can’t think of any that were fundamentally paradigm shifts.
A few months ago I was hiring. I was looking for some engineers for a contract. One resume that crossed my desk listed as a skill, “Web 2.0”. I posted to facebook, what does this mean? The answer from one of my friends, “it means that they surf all day”. Given the ease one can lose hours to “facebooking”, there is a ring of truth in this. 1 in 8 couples married this year met through social media. Think about it.
My point though, is that Web 2.0 isn’t really a technical skill set. Perhaps the job applicant meant to say AJAX or Drupal. But there isn’t a technology one can put their finger on as *the* Web 2.0 technology.
The wikipedia entry for web 2.0 is a good read. The Criticism section points out that many of the ideas that Web 2.0 were already implemented. The article in general supports my contention that web 2.0 is a social revolution not a technological one. Content creation power was placed into everyone’s hands. Networking online got taken up to a new level.
So what’s next? One thing I think bears watching is the possible fragmentation of the web, at least from the search perspective. Google web search is only one way to find things. You can discover sites through social networking, youtube and twitter search. Communities that focus on niches are becoming more prevalent (although they have always been there).
Regardless, it will take us a while to digest Web 2.0 and the next really big thing could be some time in coming. Although I’m sure there is someone out there working to prove me wrong.
Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.