This crazy thing called the internet might just stick around after all. In case you haven't heard of it, it's a series of tubes ... I joke, obviously. Readers of this magazine are more sophisticated than Senator Ted Stevens (I hope) and already are well into the second, or third, generation of Web technology.
Much has been written already about Web 2.0, the second generation of the Internet, but there still is a lot of confusion surrounding the term. Granted, the Web 2.0 moniker is being abused by vendors and marketers as they rush to claim that their solutions are "Web 2.0." This abuse has led some users to tune out the Web 2.0 noise, assuming it is just another marketing gimmick.
While there is some truth to that, and one needs to be careful when considering Web 2.0 applications, collaboration and social networking is weaving its way into our lives. People are becoming more and more enamored with collaboration and social networking, whether they know it or not.
For instance, you could say that I have been Web two-point-o-ed in my work habits. And this has happened completely by accident. I didn't go out and seek collaboration or Web 2.0 technology; it just came my way (OK, my Web developer keeps finding new tools for us to use), and it makes obvious sense. I frequently use many Web 2.0 apps in my daily routine, as do some of my coworkers, in what marketers like to call "Enterprise 2.0." With my coworkers, I share documents (Google Documents), my schedule (Google Calendar), tasks and to-do lists (rememberthemilk.com), and contacts via Etelos. And I use LinkedIn.com and, to some extent, Facebook to find new sources for articles.
In addition, I am considering forwarding my corporate E-mail to Gmail, as some in my company already have done, since Gmail offers better search and easily syncs with all of the workflow tools I mentioned above. Moreover, Gmail's capacity (6320MB) dwarfs our corporate E-mail capacity (a paltry 200MB).
Many of you are likely using some of the same Web 2.0 tools, and many companies have invested heavily in Enterprise 2.0 technology. If you are not using collaboration in your workplace, you likely are using Web 2.0 technology at home -- eBay, YouTube, Amazon and Google all are considered Web 2.0, although some were born well before Web 2.0 became a common term.
Still, the term Web 2.0 will disappear soon -- not because it fails to deliver or because it doesn't work, but because it is the Internet and it is what we are accustomed to using. This series of tubes is really cool.Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio