Just An Online Minute... Your Year
So says Time magazine, which this week bestowed its annual award on regular consumers, "for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game."
Time also weighs in on the meaning of Web 2.0, deeming it a radical shift from previous uses of the Internet. "Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it's really a revolution," writes Lev Grossman. "We're looking at an explosion of productivity and innovation, and it's just getting started, as millions of minds that would otherwise have drowned in obscurity get backhauled into the global intellectual economy."
But, while Time calls Web 2.0 a revolution, others hold it's a change of degree, not kind. Web users always had the ability to create content, though in the early days people tended to work with text, rather than photos, video or other rich media. And some companies that clearly predate Web 2.0, like Amazon, for instance, have long relied on users for their contributions. Consider, in an October report on so-called Web 2.0, the Pew Internet Project concluded that the new crop of sites that enable users to create content haven't fundamentally changed the Web. "Whatever language we use to describe it," stated the report, "the beating heart of the Internet has always been its ability to leverage our social connections."