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2008: Decision Year for RIAs - October 20-22, 2008 San Jose

Alex Barnett's Web 2.0 Blog: The Unifying Theory of Web 2.0
"Ajit [Jaokar] has nailed it ... brilliantly and simply"

You know that feeling when something has been staring at you in the face and you don't realize it. And then all of a sudden - bam! There it is!

I've just had one of those moments.

Quick background. Earlier this year at MSN Search Champs .4, I had the chance to meet in person for the first time a few of the Web 2.0 Workgroup members. In the evening, over a couple of drinks, I started asking Joshua Porter and Dion Hinchcliffe the question: 'What's the unifying theory of Web 2.0'. If I recall correctly, we all agreed there was something going on and that in each of the seven principles of Web 2.0 described by Tim O'Reilly there was something true but the 'whole' was still fuzzy. We concluded (or at least I did for sure) that the Web 2.0 notion lacked 'something' that unified the seven principles.

The Unifying Theory of Web 2.0

Yesterday, Ajit Jaokar, another member of the Web 2.0 Workgroup, threw up a post attempting to provide this missing unification. Tim noticed and I followed the link. I came across it earlier tonight and it made initial sense to me. And I stewed.

Then later, I read Ajit's most recent post 'A Web 2.0 FAQ'.

In my view Ajit has nailed it. What he's done, brilliantly and simply, is made one of the seven principles as the higher-level 'collective application', making the remaining six principles components of the collective application. The 'collective application' is the Intelligent Web.


"The intelligence attributed to the web (web 2.0) arises from us as we begin to communicate."

This is a classic case of 'the whole being greater than the sum of its parts'.

<<Note: Now as sure as eggs is eggs the naysayers, doom-and-gloomers, wannabie-party-poopers, those who ears bleeeeeed at hearing the term Web 2.0 and the imaginatively-challenged will pooh-pooh Ajit's progress as just another example of vacuousnessnessness-ness marketing hype. Or will claim that this is really 3.0. Or 1.1., or whatever. And so I say to thee: whatever, dude - there is plenty of other stuff to get all frothed up about, so move along...)>>

To those who are still with the program...

It is the simplicity of the new model that I love as much as its conclusion. Ajit didn't introduce a new principle to force the unification, he just re-arranged it. It feels like we've been frantically twisting a Rubik's cube knowing there is a pattern 'there' but not finding it, and then along comes a clever chap and - bing!

At the heart of the model is the social nature of the Web 2.0 phenomenon. I knew it was there somewhere, but I hadn't put it at the top in my mind's eye like Ajit has done. The more I look at the diagram, the more I realize just how bloody obvious it seems to me now. The 'collective application' was the only explicitly 'social' principle. In retrospect, it is the only place it could be! To state the obvious once more: the other six principles are technical characteristics and design patterns.

I'll leave the last word with Ajit:

"What is web 2.0?: It’s the intelligent web.

What makes it intelligent?: We do.

About Alex Barnett
Alex Barnett joins Bungee Labs with more than 15 years of working in web development, design and data programming. Prior to Bungee Labs, Alex spent five years at Microsoft Corp in various positions, most recently as Community Program Manager for the Data Programmability team. Alex began his tenure with Microsoft in 2002 in the UK as an Online Customer Experience Manager in CRM and the Online Marketing Team. Alex moved to the United States in 2005 and continued working for Microsoft where he was International Program Manager for MSDN and TechNet for a year, during which time he drove the globalization strategy. Prior to Microsoft, Alex worked at Bluewave, an online marketing, web design and development agency for seven years, as Sales and Marketing Director and COO. It was after the successful sale of Bluewave to Maersk Data that he moved to Microsoft. Prior to Bluewave, Alex was creating sport 'e-zines' where he learned the basics of web site development.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Trackback Added: A Unified Theory of Web 2.0; Ajit Jaokar, a member of the Web 2.0 Workgroup has made an attempt to formulate a unified theory of Web2.0 based on re-arranging the seven principles layed outlined by OReilly: The Web As Platform Harnessing Collective Intelligence Data is

> [from the Jaokar articlem cited
> here]: "Thus, when we talk of
> the 'Intelligent web' or 'harnessing
> collective intelligence' - we are talking of
> the familiar principle of wisdom of crowds"

Instead of calling this 'collective intelligence' oughtn't we to go back to calling it 'common sense'? Just as the global commons belowng to everyone, so does (or so should!) common sense,

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