You know when Gartner and IBM pontificate on Web 2.0, that we've reached a point where the term has become generally acceptable - mainstream even. Well-known research firm Gartner has drunk the kool aid:
"While Web 2.0 offers many new opportunities for companies to grow their business, few enterprises realize how to implement the full range of capabilities to succeed. By 2008, the majority of Global 1000 companies will quickly adopt several technology-related aspects of Web 2.0, but will be slow to adopt the aspects of Web 2.0 that have a social dimension, and the result will be a slow impact on business, according to Gartner, Inc."
...and David Boloker, CTO of IBM’s emerging internet technology software group, is also bullish on Web 2.0:
“Web 2.0 is a new class of affordable apps [that] are becoming do-able, delivering instantaneous value such as mash-ups and programmable web,” says Boloker. “Web 2.0 is comprised of everything from Ajax to social software, for example blogs and wikis; to a focus on simplicity, to microformats.”
I even have a personal example of how Web 2.0 has gone mainstream. I was at a New Zealand government strategy workgroup today and the term 'Web 2.0' was used profusely (and appropriately, I might add).
Now -- I've had an interesting and also bumpy ride with the term. I was the first blogger to focus on Web 2.0, starting back in 2004 soon after O'Reilly Media coined it. Indeed you could say that my blog has always been about Web 2.0 (read/write web, two-way web, etc). During 2005 my blog became very popular because of its focus on Web 2.0. My blog was the resource for Web 2.0, because I was one of the only blogs at that time writing about it. This was back in the days when Mike Arrington of Techcrunch fame kidded me about how many RSS subscribers I had - and that he'd some day overtake me. Which of course he did, I think starting from the moment I stepped into the Techcrunch ranch in Atherton in October 2005 :-) Now of course Techcrunch is number 1 amongst not only web 2.0 blogs, but arguably tech blogs in general - and deservedly so IMO. Techcrunch has simply become a must-read resource. Susan Mernit accurately described Techcrunch recently as the leading daily covering web 2.0 and startup land.
So what has happened to Read/WriteWeb? Well I've still been growing at a decent clip and I've gotten a lot of work via my blog. I've nothing to complain about reputation-wise. But in terms of Web 2.0, quite simply I got engulfed by the hype. You know that popular tech cliche: let a thousand flowers bloom? Well that describes Web 2.0 definitions by the end of 2005 - thousands of definitions "bloomed" in the second half of 2005, with the help of a lot of fertilizer from hypesters and naysayers alike.
Then on 18 December 2005 I made the infamous declaration that "Web 2.0 is dead. R.I.P.". Ever wish you hadn't pressed the 'publish' button? Well that was one of those times for me. Boy did that post cause some ructions. I tried to explain myself more coherently in a follow-up post - that defining Web 2.0 had become too distracting and I just wanted to focus on the the technologies and products. But no amount of explanation could get around that sensationalistic header I used.
So what's 2006 brought? Believe it or not, I think it's brought acceptance of the term 'Web 2.0'. That's actually caught me by surprise - I got it wrong. Web 2.0 hasn't died, it's actually morphed into a mainstream term that Gartner and IBM use. I still think it means everything -- and nothing -- at the same time. But in a weird way this has meant Web 2.0 has become the kind of umbrella term and catch-phrase that people identify with. From the 100 or so new and varied definitions of Web 2.0 you read every week (increasingly from mainstream media), to Dion Hinchcliffe's relentless pursuit of defining Web 2.0 for the enterprise, to VCs using the term to connote 'the period after dot com', to TechCrunch profiling the products of Web 2.0 and itself becoming a Web 2.0 success story, to Microsoft adopting Web 2.0 but re-naming it to The Live Web, to Yahoo continuing to put theory into practice and not naming it anything, to Google just doing it's own thing and being damn successful, to Valleywag rising up and creating a hilarious snark blog about the current boom (well, it'll be hilarious up to the point I get linked to), to 'old school' techs like Marc Canter and Dave Winer thriving in this new era, to Gen Y kids creating multi-million dollar businesses like YouTube and Facebook, yada yada.
And now Gartner and IBM 'get it'. Get what? Web 2.0 of course. But what does it mean? Everything and anything you want. You mean the architecture of participation? Sure I do. What about Ajax? Yeh, why not. What about Flash then? I guess... Does Web 2.0 mean social networking? You betcha. APIs? Dude... Collective intelligence? Of course. Perpetual betas? Now you're talking...
Look: Web 2.0 is made of people (heh).
So I've come to terms with Web 2.0. Well I had to, because I sure as heck am not going to let Gartner and IBM get all the credit! :-)