Monthly Archives: September 2012

Web 2.0 Not Going Away, Despite Criticism

The concept of Web 2.0 blew up in 2005 after Tim O’Reilly wrote a brilliant article on the subject and published it on the web. This was before the most well-known Web 2.0 platforms had really taken off. But lately there has been a lot of criticism about the Web 2.0 giants. Facebook has seen its stock price cut in half amid concerns of its inability to further monetize its service. Twitter and other social media platforms have come under recent criticisms as well.

Poor performance doesn’t mean that Web 2.0 is on its way out. The concepts espoused by its “creators” are still vital to having a popular website. There’s a great write-up on the issue of whether or not Web 2.0 is still relevant over on <a href=””>TravelTrends</a> that we thought we’d take a look at for you this week. The author, Martin Kelly, has done a great job showing how Web 2.0 is still very relevant. He comes right out to say in the midst of a possible shift into what’s called the Web 3.0, “many of the foundation Web 2.0 principles as outlined by O’Reilly remain completely valid.”

So what are the core parts of Web 2.0? Maybe you just need a little refresher, but according to Martin Kelly they are the following:

1. Relying on “hard to recreate” content pieces that “get richer as more people use them.”
2. “Trusting users as co-developers.”
3. Utilizing the knowledge of the group and collective.
4. “Leveraging the long tail through customer self-service.”
5. Focus on providing services, not a piece of software, and remaining cost-effective.

These five core concepts are still highly relevant to any Web 2.0 platform today. Even with recent downturns on the stock market or elsewhere, the biggest tech giants today like Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and a few others all adhere to these principles.

This means that these principles are here to stay for quite some time, and they never really went anywhere in the first place. The concepts behind Web 3.0 are still very much in their infancy and we won’t be seeing much about that for some time. So, despite the naysayers, Web 2.0 is very much alive and active on the web today. We won’t be without Web 2.0 for quite some time, and that’s a good thing.

An Example of Web 2.0 at the Local Level

Web 2.0 concepts of interaction, social media, and user-generated content have transformed millions of websites all over the internet. It’s a movement that is, despite some recent criticism, bound to stay a big part of the internet for years to come. It simply makes sites and communication easier for the everyday user.

Today we thought we’d share with you a great example of the Web 2.0 philosophy being implemented on a local level. There’s a school district in Nebraska called the Hershey Public Schools. According to a local news organization there called KNOP-TV, the school has finally rolled out their “new and improved website.” So why is this special?

The school district embraced a lot of Web 2.0 principles with the new website. Jane Davis, who works at the district, said that the site “is more of an interactive website” and that it “allows patrons to go and sign up for e-mail updates so every time we update our website, they will be notified.” The idea of the site notifying the viewer is important since it attracts the visitors to return to the site.

In addition to that small perk the site is also much easier to navigate and find information on. This is important for parents and students when they need to look up information concerning their district. The re-design is all about usability and providing information easily. More importantly, as Davis says, the school “can have different classes help put information to the website such as our journalism class and our media productions class.” The student content can be submitted and an instructor can then approve it for publication on the site for all students and visitors to see.

The site is set up so that it’s easier for students, teachers, and parents to create and add their own content to encourage communication and sharing. The school community embraced Web 2.0 concepts and created a new website with the hope of enhancing the school and the lives of its students.

The Unseen Consequence of Web 2.0 and Rapid Development: Hacking

The Web 2.0 movement has revolutionized and continues to revolutionize how we use the internet. It has made social connection and user interaction the driving force behind how websites and social networks develop. We’ve been enjoying this new world of the web for quite a few years. But new technologies like HTML5 and the various functionalities of Web 2.0 have also created an unforeseen consequence: hacking.

A recent article on Biztech2 discusses this in detail, but we’ll dissect it and give you the most important parts. The problem is in web applications. “Web applications remain the third most common attack vector overall.” This is unfortunate, as web applications are a primary driver behind shaping the “2.0” in Web 2.0.

As the web becomes more linked together with social networking and simple link-sharing, things can get more dangerous. Why? Because “Hackers frequently attack the trusted partners of their real victims.” With all of the interconnected aspects of a modern website, they can find ways to get to their real victims by doing this.

What most of this comes down to is the fact that “no modern application can be made 100% secure.” It’s a simple fact of the matter that hackers have the ball in their court. Developers and security companies can only react to recent moves by hackers, especially if the hackers have discovered an unknown vulnerability.

One takeaway you can get from this news? If you have am organizational or corporate website—or any site for that matter—you might want to consider promoting a Web Application Firewall for your visitors as well as getting one for yourself. These can help mitigate the danger of a security breach from that “third most common attack vector.”

If you want to read more about web application firewalls, head to the wiki here. The whole aspect of security has been something not focused on a great deal by proponents of Web 2.0. There needs to be a much greater emphasis and education on security for web users and web creators. Hacking isn’t going to go away, so it’s best to tackle the problem head-on!

A Hackathon looks to Web 2.0 Ideals to Help in Disaster Response

Web 2.0 isn’t just about giving users more interaction and social connection. It’s also a mindset. It’s a mindset that encourages people to utilize their collective power with the web. It looks like some folks in Europe are going to be doing just that in the near future.

When you read the word “hackathon” we’re pretty sure that bad thoughts came into your head. But they shouldn’t. According to the website, “a two-day hackathon is being hosted at Aston University [from the] 21st – 23rd [of] September.” Ok, so what does that even mean?

Well, it means that there will be a meeting of minds to figure out how Web 2.0 concepts like social media technologies can help in disaster response. Again from the article, “the event will allow participants to work together to develop software and solutions to real-world problems faced by emergency management experts.” Basically, this hackathon will be open to anyone with the talent and skill to help European governments use social media and Web 2.0 tech to respond to emergencies and disasters.

The results of this hackathon are completely unpredictable. The entire idea behind increased communication, interaction, and openness that Web 2.0 promotes is coming to life in this hackathon. The participants will have a tough time figuring out how all the data we have available now with Twitter, Facebook, and other social media fits into aiding in emergency response efforts. But they will likely come out of this hackathon with a clear vision and maybe some concrete ideas.

There’s no reason that the data being analyzed can’t be implemented in some sort of disaster response system. It’s great that a hackathon like this is being organized by the EU. If you need more information about the event, please head to their website here. Hopefully in a few weeks we’ll be hearing great news coming out of this hackathon. We wish them the best!