Friday, 30 November 2007

Will Web 2.0 kill Web 1.0?

I have come across the opinion that Web 2.0 might eventually kill off the older Web 1.0 web sites in the long run. This is an interesting point of view, I think, that I would like to explore a little of.

  • What is Web 2.0?

In this context, I am using Web 2.0 to talk about social networking web sites that provide an API for third party expansion. For example, Facebook would fall into this category. So the question I am really trying to tackle here is the question of whether Facebook will kill off older and more established web sites.

  • Social networking vs chat

Chat programs have existed practically forever on the web. Whether in the form of IRC (Internet Relay Chat), IM (Instant Messaging) or similar, they exist for people to exchange short message quickly with friends and sometimes strangers. Chatrooms are generally full of lurking weirdos hiding behind their anonomity and net speak, but real genuine people can be found there too, so it's not always a total waste of time to drop in one. IM programs are more like SMS on mobile phones but do let you search for other members.

This is all similar to social networking sites, however, your anonimity has been removed so when you message somebody, they know it is you. This is generally a good thing. Since joining Facebook, my own communication has often occured through the site and not via email or IM with people that would have otherwise been. So while I don't think that social networking sites will kill off chat and IM (esp as IM has in-company coporate benefits), I think that they will decline.

  • Social networking vs dating sites

Dating sites let you communicate with and hopefully meet new people by seaching for them or by providing a closest match results list. This generally works and if you have a good photo, a well written profile and are friendly then the whole dating site thing can be fun and people you meet online might end up being friends (or better) in real life. However, the big downside (and this is really big) is that they often want to charge you for the service.

Contrast and compare that with social networking sites, where you can view friends of friends profiles, see people by network and interest group, or search for people by some other arbitrary measure that you decide on. You can then message those people and get your flirt on. Thats really what all the poking is about that is going on in these social networking web sites. People flirting with each other. It wouldnt surprise me if people start to meet, date and even get married because of this. So dating web sites have a lot to worry about!

  • Social networking vs marketplaces

You can buy and sell items through social networking sites. I'm not sure how big this will grow or how successful it really is at the moment, I don't think eBay (or Craigslist if you are in America) has much to worry about on this aspect but you never know...

  • Conclusion

Web 2.0 will make significant inroads at the expense of Web 1.0 sites and services, but like the television didn't kill the radio, they will continue to coexist. Some web 1.0 sites which exist by deriving revenue (such as dating sites) will have to adjust their models or die in the long run.

How popular is Facebook?

A quick example to show how popular Facebook is was what happened to a friend who administers a network in a data company. He banned Facebook and within half an hour there was such an outcry amongst the staff (one girl even complained that she couldn't network with her clients without the site!) that he had to unban it.

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