Web 2.0 With a Focus on Social Networking and a Little on Its Privacy Issues Research Paper

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Web 2.0 with a focus on social networking and a little on its privacy issues

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 with a Focus on Social Networking

The second phase of the Web development, commonly known as Web 2.0, has increased in significance and potential with the proliferation of the social networking phenomenon. The reality of Web 2.0 has also become closely linked to new architecture and applications that facilitate increased levels of interactivity and input from Internet users. This includes important aspects which take into account information sharing and creation, as well as interoperability and user-centered design.

This paper will deal not only with the technology and applications involved in the growth and development of Web 2.0 but will also investigate the social, cultural and economic implications of this new development in communications technology. It is becoming increasingly clear that with the enormous popularity of Websites like Facebook and Twitter, among many other social networking sites, there is a concomitant social and cultural impact that is making itself felt in areas such as the media and business praxis. This cultural dimension of Web 2.0 is an area of increasing research interest and will be focused on in This paper and related to technological aspects.

Overview of Web 2.0

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In essence, a Web 2.0 online site is one that caters for high levels of interactivity and provides the facility for users to interact with one another as well as to alter web content. The essential difference to the older form of the Internet or Web 1.0 being that the online experience is no longer a passive process of merely viewing static information. Rather, this new advance in technology and interoperability means that the online experience becomes more focused on sharing, interaction and experiencing a multidimensional rather than a two dimensional non-interactive Web encounter.

Research Paper on Web 2.0 With a Focus on Social Networking and a Little on Its Privacy Issues Assignment

As will be discussed in detail, a prime example of the contemporary face of Web 2.0 are the social networks that have become such an endemic part of the modern life and which are increasing their interactive potential at an exponential rate. Social networking is not merely an entertaining side-effect of the latest technologies. It is in actuality a new communications platform that holds great potential for different types of individual and collective interaction on many different levels.

Social networks have produced a new approach, for example, to the media and the news; with social networking facilitating news gathering and reporting through Blogs and RSS newsfeeds. It has also opened up new avenues for commerce and business. In fact, as will be discussed in this paper, it has created a new model for business and business marketing and advertising. There are some commentators who also claim that Web 2.0 has in fact created, and is in the process of creating, a new international culture that is fast changing perceptions and views about the world and reality.

The term Web 2.O was reputedly coined by O'Reilly Media in 2003 and was later popularized in a 2004 Web conference. Web 2.0 has been defined as "…a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services -- such as social-networking sites, wikis and folksonomies -- which facilitate collaboration and sharing between users" (New Travel Trend: Travel 2.0 ). Web 2.0 as a term describing the emergence of an extensive social networking community has been widely accepted. It is a term that also has various other implications for online business and communications.

Historical Development

In order to understand the significance of Web 2.0 it is important to understand something of the development of the Internet and Internet technologies. In simple terms the Internet is a large network of computers. The previous incarnation of the Internet or Internet 1.0 did not offer the speed, security and other factors that could be found in controlled networking environments. Internet 2.0 was therefore created to make up for these shortfalls and to provide for a more advanced user base.

At first this advanced and more secure system was only established at and between certain universities. It was initiated in 1996 by thirty- four universities cooperating in order to develop a next-generation Internet. NGI or next- generation Internet was envisaged as a way of dealing with various inconsistencies and delivery problems that were part of the conventional Internet. In its origins, Internet 2.0 was aimed at the research and education community in the United States and was intended to provide the research and academic community with a cost -- effective and hybrid optical and packet network that would meet the aims of a functional NGI. This was later to develop into the interactive platforms and architecture of Web 2.0.

The origins of Web 2.0 become clear in a Webcast entitled, Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years on by Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle. O'Reilly and Battelle state the following,

Five years ago, we launched a conference based on a simple idea, and that idea grew into a movement. The original Web 2.0 Conference (now the Web 2.0 Summit ) was designed to restore confidence in an industry that had lost its way after the dotcom bust. The Web was far from done, we argued. In fact, it was on its way to becoming a robust platform for a culture-changing generation of computer applications and services

(O'Reilly and John Battelle).

A number of aspects are significant in the above quotation. The first aspect is that the bursting of the dotcom bubble was seen by innovators as a motivation and an opportunity to develop a form of the Internet that was more accessible, user-friendly and interactive and which provided new opportunities.

Secondly, Internet 2.0 was seen as a platform that would be "culture -- changing." This is a prediction that has been shown to be true to as great extent. There is a strong argument for the fact that Internet 2.0 has changed the way that many people perceive and act in the world and that this can be interpreted as a culture change.

Therefore, the real impetus behind Web 2.0 was not only technological advancement but also a vision of positive cultural and social change. At the same time one should also take note of the fact that Web 2.0 is similar in many respects to Internet 1.0. It provides the same basic functions, such as linking computers together via routers, with servers providing results from data input. However, in recent years there have been a number of far-reaching developments that makes Web 2.0 very different to Web 1.0.

The main difference between the two is that Web 2.0 is more technically advanced, efficient and provides for true interactivity. This means that not only does Internet 2.0 provide new technologies and applications related to these technologies, but it also provides a new environment or platform for communication to take place in a much more interactive and transparent way.

Consequently, in terms of its development, Web 2.0 is seen as much more than an addition to Internet 1.0. It is seen in fact as a new environment that offers a radically new means of communication. This is particularly the case with regard to the business environment. As one pundit notes; "Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform" (O'Reilly, 2006).

New Possibilities

The change from the old Internet to the new is one that involved a very different view or perception of how the Internet and the Web actually 'works' or should work. This new perception involves aspects such as the importance of data and information in the online world and the relevance and significance of networking in both a social and economic context. It also involves a "… architecture of participation" which is as term used to describe "… the nature of systems that are designed for user contribution" (O'Reilly, 2004). The emphasis on user input and participation is central to the contemporary view of how the Internet should 'work', which is manifestly evident in the sophistication of modern social networking.

There are many other descriptions and definitions of Internet 2.0 that shed further light on the meaning and implications of this contemporary phenomenon. In general terms, Internet 2.0 is essentially defined as a network that has been especially designed"…to provide next generation production services as well as a platform for the development of new networking ideas and protocols" (Russo). A good example are the new advertizing possibilities in business that have become possible as a result of networking and blogging. Most social networks do not charge for membership but rather make money by selling online advertising. These networks also provide information and data that helps advertisers to target customers much more effectively. Furthermore, online marketplaces, as an integral part of the network, have begun to emerge.

There is also a strong sense of innovation and experimentation that forms an important part of the impetus and ethos behind Web 2.0. As Reddy and Goodman, (2002)… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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