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Web 2.0 is the second evolutionary stage of the World Wide Web. While the beginning of the commercial Internet age was characterized by one-dimensional and two-dimensional communication, Web 2.0 is characterized by the interaction of users with the web offer and communication among each other via web services. Social networks are one of the biggest innovations of Web 2.0.
Background and development
The origins of the commercial Internet, as we use it today, are in the late 1980s and early 1990s. That time was mainly characterized by users being able to retrieve content from static websites or use the World Wide Web to send emails. Communication was predominantly monodirectional. With the emergence of e-commerce, chat systems, and internet forums, a reciprocal communication between providers and users could take place. Users themselves were able to communicate with one another via the web. To date, since about the late 1990s, mainly experts designed web content. It was too complicated at that time for private users to create their own website or run forums. What was finally referred to as Web 2.0 was an important evolutionary step. In the early 2000s, users were suddenly able to produce their own content via blogs and social media platforms without having to have profound knowledge of HTML or special programming languages. This is also referred to as “customer created content.” Services such as WordPress were established at this time. In addition, new techniques such as RSS offered the possibility of content syndication, i.e. the distribution of content on the web. Web 2.0 is closely related to the concept of the “social web.” This is due to the fact that social media has developed as a very special area of the World Wide Web, particularly since the launch of Facebook. It was now possible for users to interact directly with each other to create online communities through these platforms. The term Web 2.0 was coined by Tim O'Reilly, who developed it in the run-up to a conference in a brainstorming session. Against the background of the burst dot-com bubble in 2001, he wanted to use Web 2.0 as an optimistic sign for a new start of the WWW.
The Web 2.0 is characterized by the fact that users no longer just passively consume content, but also create it themselves and interact actively with other users. The characteristics of Web 2.0 include:
- The development of blogosphere with a variety of different blogs, free blogging systems such as Blogger or WordPress
- The establishment of techniques for disseminating content such as RSS feeds
- The development of a vlogosphere with portals such as YouTube, in which, analogous to the blogosphere, video content is used instead of text
- The development of social networks, in particular Facebook, which enable users to create their own content, establish their own communities, and share their experiences with photos, films or audio files
- The distribution of podcasts
- The massive use of exchange platforms and P2P networks
- The start and the enormous further development of Wikipedia as the first online encyclopedia, to which not only scientists, but, in principle, anybody can contribute
- The development of chatrooms in which users can communicate with each other on the web
- The start of social bookmarking, where users can save their favorite URLs online and share them with others
In terms of the technical aspects, Web 2.0 is also characterized by the fact that most applications are now browser-based. This means that users no longer have to download a special software in order to use web services, but can start or modify them via their web browser. Whereas Internet users have more opportunities to actively participate in the design of Web 2.0, a negative aspect is the fact that more and more data about its users can now be found on the web. Everyone can become a "public" person when he moves around the Internet. As of today (February 2015), debates about the lack of data protection and the protection of the privacy of the users are constantly being debated, especially with regard to the use of social networks.
Consequences for SEO and online marketing
Many marketing branches such as social media marketing or online recommendation marketing have only developed because of the consistent further development of the World Wide Web. At the same time, search engine optimization has become increasingly complex and diverse thanks to the new diverse possibilities. Social signals (i.e. user signals, a website being shared or recommended via social media) have now been included in the calculation of the popularity or relevance of a page. Blogs or social bookmarks provided excellent opportunities for SEOs to generate backlinks. At the same time, companies have now been able to significantly expand their reach via social media. The establishment of the Social Web has also brought far-reaching changes for CRMs. Users have been able to publicly express their opinion on products or services. As a result, paying attention to the development of your reputation in order to avoid modern phenomena such as shitstorms has become even more important for many companies since the introduction of Web 2.0.