So, James Governor’s recent comment (though I’m not sure this was his point) got me thinking some more about killer apps and Web 2.0. There seems to be a fair bit of buzz around the blogosphere in this regard today, too. The question that Marnie Webb at Netsquared asked Robert Scoble is a pretty good place to start: “is Web 2.0 merely hype?” Marshall Kirkpatrick asks a similar thing on his blog, too.
First, I do not believe Web 2.0 is purely hype, no matter how much hype exists (and, let’s be honest, there is a lot of hype right now). That said, if it’s more than just hype, what is it? We all seem to grasp at that particular straw, and very few folks seem to be able to put their finger on just what Web 2.0 really means. The folks in my blogroll (especially Governor, Anne Zelenka [though she’s probably starting to think I’m a stalker], and Richard McManus) do a better job than most.
It’s important to look at who does Web 2.0 well. In my “Best of 2005” list, I mentioned five companies (OK, eight) that I thought “got it.” One (MyBlogLog) is less of a Web 2.0 company, than one that enables the Web 2.0 environment. The rest, whether its del.icio.us, tech.memeorandum, Digg, or LinkedIn, give their users access to their information from anywhere.
Fundamentally, Web 2.0 has almost nothing to do with technology (though without the benefits specific technologies like Ajax or RSS enable, Web 2.0 wouldn’t exist). Instead, this collective, connective, collaborative environment represents, more than anything, a shift in consumers’ expectations of their role in the media authoring and product development process. Both Steve Rubel and Edelman talk about this in recent posts. Edelman goes a step further, trumping Web 2.0 by referring to this shift as the “Me2 Revolution.” James Governor even gives some great examples (such as Craigslist) that demonstrate the new world order pretty world.
Still, just because consumers have cracked into the formerly closed world of media authoring and product development doesn’t mean that Web 2.0 has produced its killer app yet. I love del.icio.us. I think it’s the coolest Web 2.0 app I’ve seen. Flickr and Technorati are pretty great, too. And of course, there’s this whole blogging thing. Maybe you’ve heard of it. But I haven’t seen the one thing that’s going to make everyone sit up, slap their foreheads, and say “Wow! So that’s what they’ve been talking about all along.” I could be wrong about this. I’d be curious to hear what you think.