07 January 2007

Web 2.0 - How much of it is hype?

The "summer" holidays - the weather has been unseasonably cold and wet in Wellington, New Zealand, a good excuse to stay inside - have given me a chance to revamp my Home Page, which now links to around 930 sites on the web, and explore some of the new web sites that are part of so-called Web 2.0 phenomenon. Much of this seems to be about getting individuals to generate and select web content, but having had my own home page on the web since 1998 (or was it 1997?), the concept of making "amateur" contributions to creating new content on the web is not exactly new to me. As noted in a previous posting, I started the New Zealand Aviation Yahoo! Group back in 1998. I have also been posting some of my photographs to Flickr since 2005 while more recently have made some very small contributions to Wikipedia in areas where I have some expertise.

Looking at some of the notable new web sites gives me the impression that, while there is much hype, there is now some useful development occurring and it is helping one to find particularly interesting nuggets of material amongst the mass of information now available on the web. For example, I found the 2007 Web Trend Map from Information Architects Japan to be a brilliant way of summarising the key web sites that are part of Web 2.0. The number of private individuals making a solid contribution to this phenomenon actually seems relatively small but this is clearly changing.

My recent exploration of Web 2.0 has included starting this weblog, contributing factual comments to a small number of other "blogs" that cover some of my interests, revisiting digg, and joining Newsvine and reddit. Newsvine, in particular, impresses me. I have joined its small but active Aviation group and started setting up a Column. As for reddit I have yet to see evidence of any great skill in filtering the stories that would be of particular interest to me, something that Amazon.co.uk does relatively well in terms of making book recommendations if one enters and rates previous book purchases.

In the right-hand side column of this weblog I have also been experimenting with the Eurekster swiki software by creating a search engine for Civil Aviation. My initial impression is that this software needs quite a bit more work but please feel free to contribute to improving my particular swiki.

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