Web 2.0

1. Introduction: “Obama for America wasn’t just the most successful online political campaign; it was arguably the most successful Web 2.0 deployment to date”. In India, the popularity of Anna Hazare’s campaign for Jan Lokpal Bill (People's Ombudsman Bill) under India Against Corruption movement is another example of success stories of using web 2.0 tools. The Indian general election of 2014 was held to constitute the 16th Lok Sabha, electing members of parliament for all 543 parliamentary constituencies of India in nine phases from April 7 to May 12, 2014. The average election turnout over all nine phases was around 66.38%, the highest ever in the history of Indian general elections. The National Democratic Alliance, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won a sweeping victory, taking 336 seats. The BJP itself won 31.0% of all votes and 282 (51.9%) of all seats. It was the Congress party’s worst defeat in a general election. Besides other factors, BJP achieved this result due to the efforts of 1500 volunteers’ cyber army’s. Their method was simple: campaign themes being expressed at press conferences of senior leaders, as well as Modi’s speeches, had to be broken into parts and posted on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and other social networking sites, as audio-visual posts or simply comments.

The term Web 2.0 is also known as participatory web or social web and it refers to websites that emphasize easy to use and user-generated content. This type of websites builds a participatory culture and interoperability i.e. compatible with other products, systems, and devices for end users in nature.

            The term web 2.0 was invented by Darcy DiNucci in 1999 in the article “Fragmented Future: Design & New Media” and later popularized by Tim O’Reilly- the founder of O’Reilly Media Inc. and Dale Dougherty- a vice-president of O’Reilly Media Inc. at the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 Conference in late 2004. The transition from web 1.0 to web 2.0 was gradual and, therefore, no precise date for when this change happened can be found anywhere.


2. Characteristics of Web 2.0 Technologies: Web 2.0 sites are differ from web 1.0 sites in its openness, providing freedom to the users and its dependency on collective intelligence rather than the intelligence of the owner of the website. Again, in a web 2.0 site the line between the creation and consumption of content was blurred as users able to create the content in these sites as much as they consume it. All the web 2.0 technologies have certain characteristics in common and they are

a) Dynamic: Web 2.0 sites are dynamic website i.e. they displays various content types every time it is browsed and is responsive to user input i.e. a user can click on an image to enlarge it.

b) Interactive in Nature: In Web 1.0 era websites were limited to viewing content in a passive manner by the user whereas in the web 2.0, it is all about a dialogue with the creators of information in a virtual setup. A web 2.0 site tend to interact much more with the end user and make the end user an integral part of the website, either by adding his or her profile, adding comments on content, uploading new content, or adding user-generated content e.g., personal photos.

c) User Participate or Contribute: Web 2.0 offers almost all users the same freedom to contribute and so the information flows two ways between the site owner and site users by means of commenting, evaluation and review. Instead of merely reading a Web 2.0 site, a user is invited to contribute to the site’s content by commenting on published articles, writing some text, uploading a photo, video or creating a user account or profile on the site. Web 2.0 sites provide users with information storage, creation, and dissemination capabilities that were not possible in the environment known as Web 1.0.

d) Collaborative in Nature: These sites may have an architecture of participation that encourages users to add value to the application as they use it i.e. users can provide the data and exercise some control over what they see or share on a Web 2.0 site and the site or content is depend on collective intelligence rather than the intelligence of the author or owner.

e) Software as a Service (SaaS): Web 2.0 sites developed Application Programming Interface (API) to allow automated usage, such as by a Web app (software application) or a mashup.

f) Mass Participation in Content Creation: In a web 2.0 site a wider variety of users participate in comparison to web 1.0 site.

g) Rich Web Application (RWA): In a web 2.0 site, users can experience many of the characteristics of desktop application software i.e. rich from a graphical point of view or a usability /interactivity or features point of view.

h) Web-oriented Architecture (WOA): A web 2.0 site exposes their functionality so that other applications can leverage and integrate the functionality providing a set of much richer applications. Examples are atom, RSS feeds, web services, mashups.

3. Web 2.0 Technologies: The web 2.0 technologies rely on user generated content and support the provision of interaction among them. When we talk about Web 2.0, it includes the following main technologies-

a) Blog: Blog is a web-based publishing platform consisting primarily of periodic articles composed of text, links, image, video and others which are arranged automatically in a reverse chronological order or in a chronological order with options for the reader / users to leave their reflections or comments. For example: Blogger

b) Wiki: A wiki is a type of editable website that allows users to add, remove, or otherwise edit and change most content very quickly and easily, sometimes without the need for registration by using relatively easy to use wiki syntax. For example: Wikipedia.

c) Social Network: A social network or online community is a web based service focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and / or activities by a variety of ways. For Example: Facebook, YouTube (video), Flickr (photographs), Myspace, LIS Links, etc.

d) Social Bookmarking:  Social bookmarking is an online service which allows users to add, annotate, edit, and share bookmarks of web documents. Social bookmarking does not save the resources themselves, merely bookmarks that reference them, i.e. a link to the bookmarked page so that users may understand the content of the resource without first needing to download it for themselves. A simple form of shared vocabularies does emerge in social bookmarking systems leading to folksonomy.

e) Folksonomy: A classification system in which end users apply public tags to online items, typically to make those items easier for themselves or others to find later. Over time, this can give rise to a classification system based on those tags and how often they are applied or searched for, in contrast to a taxonomic classification designed by the owners of the content and specified when it is published. This practice is also known as collaborative tagging, social classification, social indexing, and social tagging. For example: BibSonomy, Diigo, Flickr, hashtagged on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.


4. Criticism on Web 2.0: The criticism on Web 2.0 can be divided into the following major heading.

a) It is a Jargon: Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the initial technologies of the Web, described the term Web 2.0 as a jargon i.e. a special word used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand. He has been an outspoken critic of the term, while supporting many of the elements associated with it. Other critics labeled Web 2.0 a second bubble referring to the Dot-com bubble of 1997–2000.

b) It is Misnomer: For many people who work in software, version numbers like 2.0 and 3.0 are for software versioning or hardware versioning only, and to assign 2.0 arbitrarily to different technologies with a variety of real version numbers has no meaning. Again, the web does not have a version number.

c) Web 2.0 is not a New Version of Web 1.0: Many critics of the term claim that Web 2.0 does not represent a new version of the World Wide Web at all, but merely continues to use so-called Web 1.0 technologies and concepts. Techniques such as Ajax do not replace underlying protocols like HTTP, but add a layer of abstraction on top of them. Again, many of the ideas of Web 2.0 were already featured in implementations on networked systems well before the term Web 2.0 emerged. Amazon.com, for instance, has allowed users to write reviews and consumer guides since its launch in 1995, in a form of self-publishing.

d) Web 2.0 Undermine Expertise: Andrew Keen’s 2007 book, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture, argues that the core assumption of Web 2.0, that all opinions and user-generated content are equally valuable and relevant, is misguided. Andrew Keen argue that Web 2.0 has created a cult of digital narcissism and amateurism, which undermines the notion of expertise by allowing anybody, anywhere to share and place undue value upon their own opinions about any subject and post any kind of content, regardless of their actual talent, knowledge, credentials, biases or possible hidden agendas.

Michael Gorman, former president of the American Library Association has been vocal about his opposition to Web 2.0 due to the lack of expertise that it outwardly claims, though he believes that there is hope for the future.

e) Web 2.0 Exploits the Users Labour: Web 2.0 sites exploit the users to obtain the labour free of cost in writing the content for their sites or to get more and more user profiles to sell to marketers and advertising corporate. In web 2.0 users are doing more and more work in order to entertain themselves and the formal media houses and others rely on such content to produce new content which is again through to the user on benefit and in the whole process the users are at the looser end.

f) Expert does not come to Web 2.0: In most of the web 2.0 site though the user contributed a lot to the growth and development of the site and its revenue, the owner of the website do not share the benefits with the users gives rise to the possibility that serious users will prefer to withhold their contribution of time and effort and they can only use or reply on the contributions of others.

g) Web 2.0 Suppress Privacy: Suppression of privacy or increased surveillance of user activity happening over the site is built into the business model of Web 2.0 and one should not tied up to the optimistic notion of Web 2.0 being the next evolutionary step for digital media.


5. Conclusion: The web 2.0 is the social web and it harnesses the user’s time and effort in developing and contributing towards the content of the site which is again used by other users of the site. Web 2.0 examples include hosted services (Google Maps),Web applications ( Google Docs, Flickr), Video sharing sites (YouTube), wikis (MediaWiki), blogs (WordPress), social networking (Facebook), folksonomies (BibSonomy), Microblogging (Twitter), podcasting & lots of other services.

How to Cite this Article?

APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.

Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.

MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.