Mike Arrington thinks Tim O'Reilly's Web 2.0 meme map should be simpler and Dave Winer responds, saying it's a complicated self-serving meme and pointing out that the map doesn't include RSS. I've been looking at the meme map closely, while working on the latest chapter of Josh's and my O'Reilly book on Web 2.0 (so yes, I'm somewhat biased in responding to Dave's post). I agree with Mike that we need to distil the meme map down into less complicated language. Concepts such as "Architecture of Participation" and "cost-effective scalability" carry with them a lot of meaning, but they're not easily grasped. So I need to find a simpler way to explain them in the book.

The way I am approaching this dilemma is to use case studies and real life examples whenever possible in the book. So for example when I discussed the Architecture of Participation, I described it in part as "the value of user contributions to a Web 2.0 application - based on the ability for users to easily participate in a system" and I used Amazon book reviews and eBay auctions as examples.

As Dave said, "it's hard work to make things really simple" and I'm certainly finding that to be the case in writing a book about Web 2.0. That's probably true for any non-fiction book though - the writer gets to the heart of the matter by relating things to real life and describing the simple things well. That's why I love Tom Wolfe's and Michael Lewis' books so much.

Finally, Dave ends his post today with this: "Web 2.0 is really simple, it's RSS 2.0." Well I have to disagree with that :-) RSS is a very important enabling technology of Web 2.0, definitely. But Web 2.0 is much more than RSS. It's about people using the Web as a platform to build on. RSS is one of the tools we use to do that, but there are others - APIs, AJAX, REST, XHTML/CSS, etc.

Actually when it comes down to it, Web 2.0 is really about normal everyday people using the Web and creating things on it - forget the acronyms.

UPDATE: Susan Mernit said it way better than me: "The enduring lesson of all of the social media and emerging technologies is that we've created an a la carte, do it yourself platform where users can engage with sophisticated forms of search, feeds, metadata and APIs, social networks and identity, and commerce and fill these vessels with their own information
--And that's the heart of the revolution, IMHO."