Okay, so the purchase of a brand new Apple iPhone this weekend reminded me just how accessible and easy to use the Internet has become. I find myself excitingly closer to the wishy washy aspirations of Web 2.0
Had you asked only a year ago what the word ‘Web 2.0′ meant to me, I would probably have drawn a bit of a blank. I might have pointed out that labels give us a vocabulary with which we might classify and discuss the world around us. Arbitrarily labelling something ‘Web 2.0′, simply because it appears to demonstrate a subjective set of ideals that matched our future expectations of the Internet seemed a little disappointingly unscientific. In many ways the ballet of technology that provides the Internet remains based on the same foundations it always has since it was a twinkle in Tim Berners Lee’s eye.
Perhaps it is not so much Web 2.0 itself that has changed, but the backdrop of worldly events it’s growth is set against. We have seen journalists use Twitter to network from locations where journalists would not have been able to take cameras. We have seen the British military use SEO to combat terrorism. Ordinary citizens can reach anyone in the world and sharing ideas in blogs in a way that gives the average person a voice that is taken just as seriously as those in Westminster. There are entire TV shows emerging that are driven entirely by user generated content such as Rude Tube, allowing us to see funny animal behaviour and peoples’ gaffs that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. Google News has now opened it’s doors to other news sources and peoples’ blogs, and with the launch of Google Social Search and comments within these news articles, we will see this trend continue.
In the new world that is emerging on the other side of this Web 2.0 renaissance, it will prove much more easy for ideas to be free, and increasingly difficult for any world leaders to hold their people intellectual hostage. Countries that would otherwise be isolated will find they are unable to prevent their citizens learning what it means to be free. It will become virtually impossible for any large scale conspiracies or any wars based on false pretenses, simply because citizens themselves will have access to far too much information. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Web 2.0 represents the freedom and the casting aside of mind shackles in a way we have not seen since the beheading of King Charles I. To me, Web 2.0 represents freedom itself.
And yet, nothing changes the fact that the Internet works on the same principles it always has. There are some new and emerging languages such as jQuery and AJAX which help to enhance existing technologies but for the most part, it is the way we use the Internet that is evolving.
Being able to carry it all around with me in my pocket, might just be the best thing I have experienced for quite some time.