Get Lost, Web 2.0

It’s been a fun ride the last few years. Watching the web blossom from a markup-centric child to a functionally-heavy adult, I can’t help but feel like a proud parent on graduation day. The web has finally proven itself to its worst critics, and anyone who still feels contrary to the idea of the web as a viable stream of content and revenue is out of their mind.

That being said, it’s time for Web 2.0 to leave.

But why usher the departure of such a wonderful paradigm shift? Why hate something so utopian? Why banish the newly-branded web?

Why? Because the blogosphere becomes trite when everyone recursively copies the content of others; because online democracy fails when most site traffic is too young to vote; because advertisers and marketers have caught up and buried their hooks deep into digital culture; and because jelly buttons just aren’t that cool.

Content theft is king

In a rush to generate fresh content for the masses, bloggers have turned to plagiarism. Here’s how it works: Blogger #1 reads an article on The New York Times and writes about it; Blogger #2 sees Blogger #1’s post, lifts the copy and writes a two-line response; Blogger #3 sees Blogger #2’s post and writes a response. This cycle continues indefinitely until a new story appears, and you can bet that CNN will pick it up for broadcast around Blogger #4 and sell it as what’s going on in the blogosphere.

These bloggers are polluting the world with amazing amounts of duplicate content and giving the news a biased twist. This is not collaboration within the blogosphere; it’s lazy site administration. But it doesn’t matter as long as your PPC ads get clicked on, right?

Please send diapers

Online democracy is proving to be about as successful as real-world democracy. And just as in real-world democracy the problem lies not with the governing system — which is usually pretty well-suited for the job — but with the dolts who comprise the majority.

Take Digg: once a competitor to Slashdot, now just a democratic mess. The same age group that popularized social networking sites is the same group who is now taking over and destroying Digg. All Digg had to do was drop their original focus of technology, and now we have massively popular links about pandas getting scared while they’re eating.

Shouldn’t you kids be playing outside?

You socialize, we advertise

Love it or hate it, MySpace was a great idea. But now movie studios create profiles for each and every character in their upcoming blockbuster. Bands spam your message inbox with requests for support, and page layout is being driven by a drunken ad-monkey. How is this a space for me?

The real secret to MySpace is that it was not written or created by anybody named Tom. It was the brainchild of Web 1.0 spammer eUniverse (read about that here).

Now what?

It’s time for people to get past the notion that Web 2.0 even exists. There is nothing in this neatly-packaged new web that didn’t already exist almost a decade ago. Let’s pull back on the marketing reigns and just leave it as the “web”; you can’t slap a version number on millions of users utilizing thousands of sites.

I’m glad the “Web 2.0” label got people talking about the internet again, but it’s time to move past it. Making the web sound like a fad brings the wrong crowds and dooms it for post-consumptive failure.

Trends fade; the internet isn’t going anywhere. Keep your jargon to yourself.