Exploring Web 2.0: second generation interactive tools: blogs, podcasts, wikis, networks, virtual worlds and more
By Ann BellKaty
Press crossing 2009 Copyright
Web 2.0? What happened to Web 1.0? Otherwise, what’s the difference? And more specifically, who cares?
According to the author, Ann Bell, an online instructor and course developer at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Web 1.0 fizzled out shortly after the dot-com debacle at the turn of the new millennium. Before that, she says, the information paradigm was “publish and browse”; the web was there to be read, not interacted with. Today, in Web 2.0, data streams from every conceivable source are continually mixed and matched. As for who cares, knowledge, as they say, is power; Any business person planning to make a living on the Web should pay attention to some of these things.
And this is a good book for someone who wants to learn more about the Internet but doesn’t want to get bogged down in the technical maze. Author Bell doesn’t torment us with estimating kilobytes or explaining domain name servers. Web 2.0, he says, depends on sharing between users, and he sets out to show us how we can all benefit from this collaboration. The chapter on RSS Feeds, for example, gave the clearest explanation of what RSS is and how to use it of anything I’ve read on the subject. Information diced and sliced and delivered on your plate to suit your needs. It also gives us a list of valuable links to use in building our own RSS feed.
For those of us who have always gotten excited about nonsense words like metadata and folksonomy, there is an interesting section that explains these terms and shows how they are important in Social Bookmarking, another system that any entrepreneur hoping to succeed on the web should keep in mind. bill. of. Already on delicious.com? Ok, so you understand the labeling. Of course, there are still applications for Podcasting, Vodcasting and ScreenCasts, Wikis, Mashups and Virtual Office to be discussed.
Virtual office applications, or cloud computing as many call it, are a valuable addition to any business office. Free software and free storage that’s well beyond the reach of your failing hard drive. Don’t know where to find these valuable things? No problem, Ms. Bell lists several of the most popular services: Google Docs, Microsoft Live Office, and Zoho. (I tried Microsoft Live Office for the first time and found it too complicated – I went back to Google Docs.)
Some readers may find this book a bit light. Ms. Bell spends very little time on technical issues. Except for the section on RSS, she tends to be more descriptive than helpful in using the various elements she describes. But the book serves as an excellent introduction to the new interactive resources of Web 2.0.