So… exactly what is Web 2.0 again?

    I feel we’ve become so wrapped up in “social media” that we forget the vital, driving philosophical and technological strategies behind them. As I plan my syllabus for my Georgia State University Spring 2011 course on Social Media Marketing, I want to ensure the undercurrents are acknowledged. So, here goes:

    Web 2.0 is a term attached to myriad advances in Web technologies and social media in the 2000s. Some common definitions include viral capabilities and multi-channel networks (as opposed to traditional one-to-many broadcast models and single-message advertisements).

    Enabling technologies for Web 2.0 include AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML combined) – a merging of disparate programming languages enabling simple widgets. An additional enabling technology is that of “mash-ups,” yet another tool for integrating disparate software technologies. These are easily combined via widgets on the simplest Web site. It is such capabilities that have allowed the Internet to advance from traditional search engines and e-commerce, to recommendations engines, such as found on Amazon today. Supply and demand have increased for broadband access, also aiding open Web-based, cross-compatibility B2B software such as CRM (customer resource management). Likewise, such technologies have enabled social networking software, wikis and other user content sites, such as blog-submission sites Technorati and Digg.

    A truly landmark data Web site called ScoreCard was created by the US government in 1998, specifically to publicize corporate pollution data. It achieved an unexpected level of attention with massive hits by a curious public, and was considered one of the first, best, foundation-setting examples of Web 2.0. At the same time of this innovative inception, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also commissioned the Environmental Land-Use Control Web Ring, which enabled area-specific monitoring of environmental issues, toxins and violations, inspiring local citizens into action. Cited as precursors of Web 2.0 technological integrations, these Web sites performed “mash-up” type combinations of geographic information software (GIS) with dynamic data.

    Even today, GIS and mash-up integrations are recommended for basic company Web sites. For software advancement and optimization they are
    essential. (For more information, please see my 2009 masters thesis/independent project on my website; “The Viral Green”)

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    Jake Aull | Marketing Strategy | Social Media | Digital & Creative
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