Web 2.0! Web 2.0! Web 2.0! It's impossible to turn on the television or pick up any form of media and attempt to stare at it for longer than 20 seconds without seeing the phrase "Web 2.0" stamped across it in Impact font (bevel and drop shadow optional). The news stations love obsessing over Web 2.0 because it's yet another vague concept that defies conventional explanation and therefore makes their readers think they're smart when they hear about it. People like hearing about things that they just slightly understand, because it makes them feel smarter than their neighbors when they bring it up. "Hey Bob, did you see the new Toyota I bought?" they'll ask their neighbor, who is hopefully named "Bob." If he's not named "Bob," then this scenario probably won't work the way I expect it. If there's no neighbor at all, then things get considerably worse. "This new Toyota I bought, it has Web 2.0 installed in it! Look, when I get a call from grandma on my Bluetooth enabled cell phone, THE CAR BATTERY AND BRAKES DIE. THAT IS Web 2.0."
So what the hell is Web 2.0 anyway? I think it might be AJAX, which is a programming language that enables garbage to fly all over your monitor when you least expect it. Or perhaps it's Wikipedia, a website the result of obsessive-compulsive disorders and Transformers erotic fan fiction. Oh, better yet, perhaps it's the Intel Core Duo Extreme CPU, the only chip Gabe Newell trusts to do his laundry and take his children to school in the patented Valve Log Flume. Who knows what the hell Web 2.0 is! Nobody can tell me! It's impossible to explain it! It's like Web 1.0... BUT SOMEHOW MAGICALLY DIFFERENT. Like if my mother was to walk into my house wearing a moustache and tiny fez, that would be Mother 2.0. Web 2.0 is just like that except the moustache is animated.
I wouldn't really be so up in arms over Web 2.0 if it wasn't for the idiotic, pseudo-intellectual news sources like Wired Magazine and News.com splooging all over the concept of Web 2.0 while trying to shove a trash dumpster full of hip new jargon slang down our collective throats. Wired Magazine stopped discussing actual relevant issues sometime in the mid-1990s, abandoning them for an obsession over alternative energy sources which will never exist in any form of reality. Now the editors just have contests to see which department can copy and paste the flashiest Web-related bullshit as many times as they can without their magazine imploding into a dimension of uselessness. The typical Wired issue these days can be broken down into the following sections:
1 - Pointless and ultimately empty articles about crowdsourcing, podcasting, blogging, technospotting, rimjobbing, eHuffing, seedcasting, cowcasting, sowcasting, snowcelling, cyberwebosphering, goatasting, or whatever stupid word-of-the-month they're running in circles around.
2 - Vapid self-promoting pats on the back congratulating themselves on correctly predicting a bold new trend in technology. Woah, what's that Wired Magazine? You mean you're telling me you predicted robots would some day count and dispense pharmaceuticals of the future? And you made this impressive divination all the way back in the year 2005? Gee golly is your magazine written by time-traveling spacemen of the future or perhaps Jesus Christ himself? Jesus Christ the time-traveling spaceman of the future, that is, not Jesus Christ the Son of God. I read that issue of Wired which stated Jesus didn't exist, because the Bible crowdsourced their podcast to the blogosphere via Ruby on Rails to Ezekiel 2.0.
3 - Subtle references to famous memes of the past. What's that? All your base are belong to you? Wired, you've struck comedy gold once again! Now please take a moment to tell me about the hottest website on Web 0.9, "Hello My Future Girlfriend!" I hear that kid's a real hoot! Maybe Wired can produce a spinoff magazine completely dedicated to garbage 4chan threw out years ago. It could be called "DON'T READ THIS STUPID MAGAZINE UNLESS YOU'RE AN IDIOT... DOT COM."
4 - One sentence reviews of things nobody will ever buy under any circumstances. Oh this USB coffee maker can produce 238 quarts of espresso every 12 hours? You guys are recommending a portable mule filtration system capable of instant messaging me every seven seconds? Gosh, and here I was afraid my Intelligent Wireless Natural iGravyBoat Pro was considered "tired!"
5 - Ads for 1and1hosting or whatever that stupid company is which buys 10-page blocks of advertisements displaying stock footage of white people enjoying computers a bit too much.
Every issue of Wired pounds metric tons of memes, catchphrases, and worthless buzzwords down our throats, all seemingly revolving around the mythical Web 2.0, yet nobody on the face of the Earth has any idea what Web 2.0 is. I just went to the dentist and had white cavity fillings instead of the traditional silver, is that Web 2.0? My wife yelled at me and told me to help out around the house more and I told her to "go to hell" instead of traditionally slapping her, is that Web 2.0? My cat just threw up a wad of undigested cat food and my dog proceeded to eat it, is that Web 2.0? Who knows! That is the magic of buzzwordology, a practice allowing the news media to build artificial hype around an artificial concept designed by them, for them, with the goal of making them more money.
We're entrenched in a culture obsessed with style over substance. You might argue this is nothing new, but as our economy shifts further from concrete products to this virtual world of bullshit on the Web, the distinction between style and substance begins to widen and more clueless victims tumble into the bottomless void. We're being sold on concepts manufactured by news advertising agencies, groups of people who aren't even sure what they're creating. In our world, the emperor not only has no robe, but his naked ass is called "clothing 2.0."
In the interest of the general public, I'm going to take it upon myself to finally answer the question, "what is Web 2.0?" I'm going to lay this issue down once and for all. From this point on, "Web 2.0" will not exist as simply a mysterious concept; I will define it as concretely as possible.
Web 2.0 FAQ
Question: What is Web 2.0?
Answer: Web 2.0 is a combination of Web 1.0 and being punched in the dick.
Question: How do I know I'm using a website / service / product that is officially "Web 2.0" and not actually "Web 1.0" with various patches and enhancements added to it?
Answer: Web 2.0 is made obvious by the addition of completely and highly unnecessary bells and whistles that don't do anything besides annoy you and make life more complicated. If Web 1.0 was the equivalent of reading a book, Web 2.0 is reading a book while all the words are flying around and changing pages as the book rotates randomly and sets your hands on fire. Also there's this parrot that keeps on flying towards your head in repeated attempts to gouge out your eyes.
Question: I read about this one website in Wired Magazine. Is that Web 2.0??
Answer: Oh definitely. Wired won't even mention Web 1.0 sites. Every single site in their magazine is at least Web 2.0. Sometimes they're even up to Web 45.2 (such as www.ebutts-and-credit-reports-delivered-via-carrier-pidgeon.com)!
Question: My roommate said he "digged" a "wikipedia entry" about "the blogosphere" which mentioned "podcasting" as a viable form of "crowdsourcing."
Answer: Your roommate is a faggot. Also, this wasn't technically a question.
Question: What's Web 3.0?
Answer: It's a product or service planned on release in spring of 2008, and consists solely of websites enabling the user to create even more detailed Kirby ASCII art. (O'.')-o
Question: Is Something Awful Web 2.0-compliant?
Answer: t('.'t )
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