Web 2.0 - a jolly jape with cheese

This is an excellent overview of the Web 2.0 seminar I contributed to.
By Adam Stone of Rokkmedia.

7 November, 2006
I was lucky enough to blag a free ticket, ahem, attend a conference last night (6/11/06) in Taunton, Somerset concerning the topic of Web 2.0. Not only was my good friend and colleague Bill Wells (of 2.0 Ltd - I kid you not!) organising the video recording of the event (for future vidcast), but ‘podcast-rockstar’ Paul Boag (http://www.boagworld.com/ - reputedly the worlds’ most subscribed-to web design podcast) - someone who has been hugely influential in Rokk Media adopting Web Standards some time ago, was one of the guest speakers (after I introduced him to the event) - so I think my complimentary ticket was well deserved!

The event was well attended, and probably one of the most professional I’ve been to in these here parts - so congrats to all involved.

The theme of the evening was the hot-topic de jour - “Web 2.0” buzz or bizz - hype-full or hope-less!

Speakers included Ben Hilton from Rubberductions, Simon Price from Bristol University (who demonstrated some amazing applications for gathering and interpreting web-based which he insisted was Web 1.5); and two very eloquent Pauls from the BBC - who showed some amazing web-based applications that the Beeb have been working on. Finally Paul Boag who took a swipe at the hype filling a very entertaining 20 minutes or so.

Most speakers, possibly with the exception of Simon, showed how Web 2.0 can be fairly neatly boxed into a huge take-up of broadband fuelling a massive growth in social network/communicate centric sites that use cool technologies like AJAX and Ruby On Rails (among others), and a clean, matter-of-fact design approach aimed at getting straight to the heart of the proposition. Paul Appleby from the BBC was also keen to point out that the web is Darwinian - evolving, gene-like, and could not therefore be realisticaly likened to a software application in the version x.0 mould - fair point Paul!

After the speakers concluded with a Q & A (a much nicer term than FAQ - what went wrong there in Web-lore?), a sumptious buffet of rustic fare was provided - apples, cheese, scones and strawberries - oh yes.

On my way back from the event, battling to keep from crossing lanes on the motor-way in a 3 foot visibility pea-souper, I mulled the wise words of the five speakers and something else occured to me. Thinking back to the eleven or so years that I’ve been involved in web design and development I can see a definite growth-curve emerging - but not so much with regards to the technology or appearance of sites (in fact I can probably show you a duplicate example of anything that exists today that emerged in a previous time). The growth I have seen, is in the understanding and appreciation that clients have for the Web - and how it can enhance and rocket-fuel their individual businesses.

Ten years ago - for example - you couldn’t give away a Web Site! In fact the bulk of our ‘hot prospects’ were “The Internet you say? Oh yes, heard of that - could you come over and show me what it looks like?”. Ten years later and the landscape couldn’t be more different. Clients come to us now knowing exactly what they want out of their web presence, fully aware of the power an online presence can have on their success of their business.

From our point of view this is fantastic. No longer do we have to go through the painful process of convincing our clients that the Web is the way to go!

For me that’s the real evolution of the Web.

Rokk on!

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