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I joined “forces” with Lee Provoost a few weeks ago around a shared interest and thought thread that spawned in Twitter. The following is a result of that collaboration…

Web 2.0 is a fad, make room for Web C3

Each day one wakes thinking they have a handle on what is happening, not thinking that they are about to realize that what they knew is in reality not really what it is all about. The other day was just one of those days – two people separated by the interwebs decided to interrupt each other’s day by having a quick conversation in Twitter…
And that’s how a typical conversation starts on Twitter. There is open collaboration: messages are available for everyone, there is a thriving community with like-minded souls (i.e. people open to share and communicate) and there is real-time collaboration going on where one person builds on the other one. None of it is orchestrated, no one is controlling. In fact it operates on the premise that one must “jump” into the middle of a thought stream when they feel it’s appropriate and the other person must decide to respond and begin conversing or ignore and continue on without acknowledging the input. One can’t say it’s unrequested because the nature of the medium is “open” it is “inviting” yet it’s passive; you engage when you choose to do so.
But to come back to the discussion: what’s with the whole 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 naming thing? Isn’t it “just the web”? According to the purist the fundamental difference between 1.0 and 2.0 is that in a Web 2.0 world, the Internet is seen as a platform and there is a significant social aspect involved. It’s not static information pages that create the web, but people and the way they are interacting with each other. The dust around the definition of Web 3.0 hasn’t settled yet, but one aspect that many people see is the semantic web as an extra layer. Meaning that data will start to have a meaning. Data about data so to say 🙂 Others suggest that a virtual or 3 dimensional representation of the web is what Web 3.0 will entail – data visualization?
Does it actually matter? What defines now Web 3.0? or 4.0? or 5.0? When you look at the evolution of the Internet and the World Wide Web, you see that communication has been a corner stone: in the beginning static pages and leaflets, over to dynamically generated data, contributed by users or mashed up from different sources. Let’s not forget that communication (e-mail) has also been one of the killer apps of the internet, many people started to get Internet connection at home to check their Hotmail or AOL mail. Some of the hard core adopters even before with Prodigy and CompuServe, and before that Telnet and ported Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) such as Wildcat and Telgard.
Another corner stone are communities. Even before the W3 as we know, you had bulletin boards and chat rooms where people flocked together to discuss topics. During the 80s phone companies rejoiced as more and more discovered what their 300, 1200 and 2400 Baud modems were capable of. The worlds these devices began to connect. With the onslaught of 14,400, 28,800 and higher modems and FrontEnd Mailers connected the otherwise disconnected BBS systems to each other with message forum exchanges. Certainly the World Wide Web, the Web or the Net began to change the game and many BBS systems began the process to port their systems to enable Telnet access however the barrier to entry was still relatively high – few still exist today and even fewer public ones. Years later with Web 2.0 those entry points were becoming so low that the norm was to connect and for many users to contribute through their AOL and other centralized accounts later advancing and emerging into the open web starting with blogging platforms, then with apps like Twitter, Google Sites, Tumblr, Posterous, etc. 
Last but not least: collaboration. There is a reason why they call e-mail the largest social network. Even in a 1.0 era, websites were used to share information between research groups or developers (perhaps less interactive though), IRC rooms and email lists and later NNTP (newsgroups) were used as a kind of support groups for software and in particular development. In a 2.0 era with Twitter and Google Wave, nothing has fundamentally changed. People fundamentally “want” to work together and they “want” to share their knowledge; it’s this natural desire that enables collaboration regardless of what platform or method of communication might exist. Through the “invention” of the World Wide Web, the onslaught of multiples types of platforms for communicating from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 the basis concepts and principles of communicating and collaborating have not changed in fact it’s been in the recent years that the third aspect of the the C3 concept, community, has really begun to make things interesting – yet unchanged, or?
Will Web 3.0 change anything? I guess not. Perhaps the fact that we can work smarter with data, will influence the way we are collaboration, communicating and build communities. Even more, where web 2.0 was a very social with with human interaction, Web 3.0 will allow applications/software to take part in the the three C’s, because we finally will have the technology where they will understand us. 
So if that’s ok with you, we’ll just rewrite history and do a “search all + replace” on the internet and start using the name Web C3. Collaborative. Community. Communication.
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