The Web 2.0 Revolution Spawns Offshoots

The ideas in the Web 2.0 best practice set continues to capture the imagination of software creators everywhere. Sometimes it seems like you can't turn around without discovering some great new, pervasive, online software being released for the world to use. But the core ideas of Web 2.0 are also spreading and being co-oped at a surprisingly rapid pace into a wider community that's seizing on the value proposition being offered.

Increasingly, I'm encountering new movements that have been directly triggered by Web 2.0 ideas. And they range all across the spectrum of human endeavor. As just one example, Law Practice Today, a journal of the American Bar Association, recently ran a detailed story on Web 2.0 and its tie-in with the law. Why in the world do lawyers seem to care about Web 2.0 you ask? I wondered that myself and I found out that Web 2.0 has spawned a relatively full-blown new movement known as Law 2.0. 

But that's just the beginning. The interrelated, mutually reinforcing concepts in Web 2.0 like true disintermediation, customer self-service, and harnessing collective intelligence, are resonating with many other industries. As it turns out, these industries are in the process of being transformed by technology including the relentless collapse of formal central controls, pervasive Web usage, rapid technological change, and more. These communities seem to be craving a new model for collaboration, relevance, and usefulness. And Web 2.0 seems to give them both a beacon to rally around and a useful set of practices that can then be used for constructive reinvention.

Though some of these, like Media 2.0, are still quite nebulous, others like Library 2.0 are well underway and are generally accepted by early adopters. So, though some people have prematurely declared the death of Web 2.0, others are have started actively using its ideas to reinvent themselves in a positive way.

Figure 1: Web 2.0 Offshoots

If nothing else seems clear, it's that the penduluum is swinging quickly away from IT management techniques with central command and control (the push model of management) and towards a more scalable, and effective, decentralized model of IT self-service (the pull model). The pull model is increasingly becoming identified as a leading model for efficiency and innovation, with respected McKinsey & Company most recently praising it as the management and organization model of the future.

In any case, I'll be tracking these new developments and Web 2.0 offshoots going forward and expect to hear about them here. If nothing else is clear, Web 2.0 has created an amazingly vibrant, self-organizing super community in a very short time and it never ceases to be amazing me how people have grabbed onto the ideas and started making them work.

Here's a summary of the current Web 2.0-related movements. And as always, if I missed any, you are certainly welcome to put them in comments below:

  • Identity 2.0: Widely covered by numerous periodicals and even at the Web 2.0 Conference, Identity 2.0 is an intriguing concept most identified with Sxip and Dick Hardt (see his amazing OSCON keynote presentation on Identity 2.0 here. It's worth it.)
  • Library 2.0: A very Web 2.0 view of library resources that emphasizes the two-way flow information between library users and the library itself. Lots of interesting material, the Web 2.0 Workgroup even has a major Library 2.0 proponent, Stephen Cohen, as a member. Update: Stephen does not consider himself a "proponent" per se (see comments below.)
  • Law 2.0: A less-formal movement, Law 2.0 is definitely  on lawyer's minds and has already spawned the first generally accepted Law 2.0 application, WEX. WEX is a legal wiki encyclopedia at Cornell that is available to anyone and everyone.
  • Media 2.0: Newspapers, magazines, and other print media are being revolutionized by the Web. And not only for the better in some cases. Yet some folks believe in a second coming of media, old and new, known as Media 2.0.
  • Advertising 2.0: A Web 2.0 take on participatory, scalable, participatory advertising.
  • Democracy 2.0: A grassroots attempt to repair perceived problems with old-world, representative democracy. Democracy 2.0 received runner-up grassroots Web 2.0 awards in the Best Web 2.0 Software of 2005 and for good reason. Lots of interesting ideas and lots of participation.

What other Web 2.0 movements are missing? Fill them out below...

Steven M. Cohen made this comment,
The library blogging community is having lengthy cross-discussions about Library 2.0 (L2) and what it is and what it means. Those that are espousing the views of L2 are being questioned by others (including me) about whether these ideas are new to the library profession. Yes, new technology is available, but it can't just be about technology. Web 2.0 is only about technology. Librarianship is built on more than that and the ideas being thrown across as L2 are nothing that we haven't seen before in the profession. I buy Web 2.0. I don't buy Library 2.0....yet.
comment added :: 7th January 2006, 23:15 GMT-05 ::

Michael Casey made this comment,
Very interesting examination of Web 2.0 offshoots! As one of the founding proponents of Library 2.0, I just want to say that Library 2.0 is not primarily tech-centric but it does attempt to take full advantage of the Web 2.0 tools only now becoming available. Library 2.0 is a model for library service that reaches out to new users (Long Tail), invites customer participation (participatory service), and relies on constant change (perpetual beta).
Regarding this Library 2.0 discussion, we would not be in this place were it not for the technologies that allow us to have this conversation – the blogs and wikis and Web 2.0 tools that facilitate collaboration and discussion. These technologies have allowed us, librarians, to think outside the proverbial box and see ways to deliver new services and reach new users.

comment added :: 8th January 2006, 00:30 GMT-05 ::

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Aiden Reynolds
Aiden Reynolds
Aiden Reynolds is a content editor at WEB 2.0 JOURNAL. He was born and raised in New York, and has been interested in computer and technology since he was a child. He is also a hobbyist of artificial intelligence. Reynolds is known for his hard work ethic. He often puts in long hours at the office, and is always looking for new ways to improve his writing and reviewing skills. Despite his busy schedule, he still makes time for his interests, such as playing video games. In his free time, Reynolds enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children. He is also an active member of the community, and frequently volunteers his time to help out with local events.