Another Voice Calling For The End Of Web 2.0

It’s an old, old refrain. It seems that all over the place people are suggesting that the Web 2.0 term has reached it’s end; that it doesn’t have enough legs.

The newest is Charlie Cooper:

[from Why it’s time to dump the Web 2.0 sobriquet once and for all | Coop’s Corner : A Blog from Charlie Cooper – CNET]

I don’t know where we are in the transition, but there’s no getting around the fact that the constellation of forces in software is shifting. Companies like Twitter still draw more comment in the blogosphere, but look what’s happening with Web 2.0. We’re now in a phase where bigger hardware and software companies with deep pockets are starting to predominate. (In many cases, because they buy up innovative start-ups to get into the game such as AOL-Beebo. Other times because they come up with new technology models like Microsoft’s cloud platform push with Live Services and Live Mesh.) Lots of reasons behind the enterprise companies’ interest but maybe it boils down to something as simple as companies just trying to stay relevant. Fact is that as more young people graduate into the work place, the new generations will import online habits they learned growing up into their work routines.

In a recession, they’ll fare better in any storm than companies which don’t have an apparent exit strategy, according to Barry Schuler, a former CEO of America Online and now a private investor.

“With social media, no one’s figured out how to monetize things yet,” Schuler said. “In a certain sense, it looks a lot like 1997. The hiccup will be if there is a recession. The least proven stuff, the companies that haven’t decoded a business model, will be the stuff that gets dropped. If there’s one thing we learned through the Internet bubble, you can say this is a new economy, but in the end, P&L does matter.”

We’re fast approaching a point where it’s time to find a more fitting sobriquet. Better yet, maybe we should just dump an awkward marketing umbrella term entirely. It just gets in the way of clear thinking.

This is simply four paragraphs smushed together. It’s not an argument. It’s not some reasoned case for why we should put the term Web 2.0 aside, is it? Let’s parse this:

  1. Bigger companies are starting to pay attention to the notions, technologies, and communities that are involved in whatever this Web 2.0 thing is.
  2. Young people are moving into the workforce having adopted Web 2.0 technologies.
  3. In a recession, ‘they’ll’ fare better – does he mean the larger companies that are adopting Web 2.0 ideas, or the young people entering the workforce? I guess he means the companies, although grammar suggests the young people. Ok, so bigger companies – like Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL – are more likely to weather a recession.
  4. Companies without a proven business model will have a difficult time in a recession. What does that mean exactly? That investors won’t invest? That users won’t click on ads? That people won’t pay the $4.95 per month for Suicide Girls? All of the above? Huh? Who said money doesn’t matter?
  5. Therefore, time to drop the Web 2.0 term. Huh? What did I miss? So, young people and large established companies are starting to adopt Web 2.0 thinking and technologies. We are headed into a recession. QED: Time to drop the term.

There is no argument offered here people, move on. This is less interesting than the self-serving types (like Jason Calacanis) that have tried to define Web 3.0 to position their tools or companies, but it is equally dumb.

Web 2.0 is a fine term that distinguishes what is going on today from what preceded it, and until something really different comes on – no matter what Charlie Cooper and his ilk may say – it’s here to stay.

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