Web 2.0

I've been doing a little bit of playing with cool Web 2.0 tools. What is Web 2.0? That link goes to Wikipedia, which has a nice, informative entry on Web 2.0 (Wikipedia is itself an example of Web 2.0, really). Web 1.0 was static HTML pages, in the control of one person or organization, that didn't change much. A lot of the web (and a lot of the nonprofit web) is still at 1.0. Websites that could be called a part of Web 2.0 are sites that include dynamic updating (like blogs), syndication feeds, networks and collaboration. These are the hallmarks of Web 2.0.

One of the great things about Web 2.0 is that it is finally capitalizing on web standards, particularly, RSS/Atom - the syndication standards. This allows any new content from any source to be grabbed and agregated by other sources.

So there are a bunch of tools I've been trying out and using, and I'm liking a lot. First, is most people are pretty familiar with, called It's a collaborative bookmarking site, and was just bought by Yahoo. If you look at my links, you can get an idea of why this is cool. (By the way, lately, there have been some glitches, so if it doesn't work, check back in a bit.)

The second tool is bloglines. Bloglines is a "Feed" reader - it grabs RSS/Atom streams from blogs and other sites, and aggregates them for you. Again, if you have a look at my public bloglines, you can get the idea - it helps me keep up to date. Google has it's own feed reader, called Google Reader. I spent a fair bit of time playing with it, and it has a nice Google look and feel (kinda like GMail) but it isn't as good as bloglines. The interface needs some help to be as easy to use as bloglines.

The third tool is called Digg. Digg is really, really cool. Basically, someone (even you) posts a story (a link to a website, basically). Then, people read the story, and 'digg' it. When it reaches a certain number of diggs (mysterious #) it gets promoted to the main page. It's a very cool way to get news and information. Primarily, this is in the realm of the technical. Another hallmark of Web 2.0 is the public sharing of what you have done, so you can see the stories I 'dugg'.

Another tool, focused around blogs and blogging, is called Technorati. Technorati is basically a tool for finding blogs and blog entries based on particular tags.

The next tool is called Flickr. It's a photo sharing site, where people upload photos, tag them, and share them with friends, family, or publicly. I haven't used this tool a lot, because this blog (another Web 2.0 example) has a photo album. What I like about Flickr though, that many online albums don't have is that you can tag photos, and also determine for each photo who can see what photos. Some of my few uploaded photos to flickr can be seen by just my family, and some by everyone. One of the hallmarks of Web 2.0 is that the more people that are involved, the better. The way flickr figures out whether or not someone is family or friend, is whether they are on my contact list. The only way to get on my contact list is to also sign up for a flickr account. This might be a hurdle not everyone is willing to jump.

Then, some newer tools are coming about to help you put all of this together. And example of this is the new SuprGlue, which I like quite a lot. There are probably other examples. Take a look at my SuprGlue page, and it will give you an idea of how it works.

It's a nice thing that web standards are really coming of age, and allowing us to create amazing tools. I can literally feel how I'm migrating information off of my desktop, and onto the web (bookmarks, feeds, photos) so that I have access to everything, anywhere.

Things to think about: reliability (what happens if Yahoo decides, without warning, to pull the plug on, for example,)  security (making sure only the information I want is publicly accessible,) and necessity (does this really make my life easier, or are they just fun toys for a geek to play with?)

An old colleague who's left the nonprofit space, but unlike me is still doing technology stuff, Andrew Gianni, has some interesting things to say about Web 2.0. I'd keep my eye on him.

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