Cliché On The Rise: “Web 2.0″


I’m a hardcore believer in the spirit of Web 2.0 – at least as I understand it. However, the name has been bothering me more and more lately. Even the folks who contributed to Wikipedia’s definition of Web 2.0 (as of June 23, 2006) note that: “Some members of the development community see Web 2.0 as an overly vague buzzword, incorporating whatever is newly popular on the Web (such as tags and podcasts), without having any fixed meaning.”

That brings us to the bottom line: though most people in the world don’t know what Web 2.0 is, nor do they or should they care, the term quickly has become a cliché in circles of not only the Web development community, but elsewhere, including in many parts of the media and marketing world where I work.

As an executive from a big search-engine and social book-marking company told me last night over dinner, he unfortunately uses it to death because he believes it saves time when trying to explain what his company does, or what category his company does business in. There’s no doubt the meaning behind Web 2.0 is important, prolific and somewhat descriptive. I just wish we could lose the term, because: it’s losing its currency amidst hype; it’s too ambiguous; and it ultimately distracts people from articulating what they or their companies actually do.

Based on the increased frequency of usage of the term in blogs, it appears that Web 2.0 has still to run its course. But what goes up, must come down; it’s a question of when. Oh well. I’m off to the Supernova conference now, where I’m sure I’ll hear the term mentioned a few times by people far more in the know than me. There’s a lot of interesting things happening around Web 2.0; but again, I just don’t like the term.

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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