What is Web 2.0 online software? This page provides details of and links to some of the important movements in the development of online software or e-tools that have impacted on, and continue to impact on, how individuals and communities communicate and learn.
The most noticeable development on the Internet is what is known as “Web 2.0”. This is actually not a new version of World Wide Web – it is the development of online software tools which facilitate collaboration and sharing between users. This computer-mediated communication has become very popular with sites such as Facebook and YouTube.
With the use of this new social software, computing is no longer a lonely business – it is something that is sociable – in a virtual way. People can share their ideas, their hopes, their frustrations or just vent their feelings about any particular topic. These online tools encourage self-publishing or online journalism, where people express their points of view on their websites.
Some of the Web 2.0 online or social software tools available
There is a wide range of social software tools, including:
- Blogs: Short for weblog. Journal or newsletter that is frequently updated and intended public viewing. Users post informal journals of their thoughts, comments, and philosophies and reflecting their views.
- Chats: Places on the Internet where people with similar interests meet and communicate together by typing instant messages. Can involve two or more people.
- Discussion boards or forums: Online discussion groups, where participants with common interests exchange open messages. Subscribers post messages for others to read, and to reply to messages posted by other users.
- E-mail: Electronic mail system that can be used to send plain text or text with attachments.
- Instant messages: Programs that instantly send messages from one computer to another. Usually one-on-one communication.
- Podcasts: The term is derived from Apple’s iPod. It is a method of publishing mostly audio and video files to the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to receive new files.
- Social networking sites: These are sites where users can maintain links with their social networks and perhaps link to new people on the same site.
- Wikis: Server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content and hyperlinks using a web browser. Wiki comes from the Hawaiian word ‘wiki wiki’ meaning fast. The most famous wiki is wikipedia.
- Infographics: These are graphical representations of of a concept, process, theory, or topic. Several social sites have arisen that facilitate the creation and sharing of these infographics.
- Social bookmarking: A system that enables users to store links to web pages and the resulting lists can be made accessible to other users of that bookmarking system.
- Curating is really a special sort and very attractive variant on the social bookmarking theme. These are tools that enable users to create lists of resources on particular themes and then publish them on the Internet. Some do this in the form of online newspapers (e.g., Paper.li) and one increasingly popular curating system (Pinterest) enables the creation of pin boards.
Semantic web technologies
Before we had really started getting used to the idea of Web 2.0, researchers were talking about Web 3.0 – though actually it is usually now referred to as the “Semantic Web”. And this concept of the web really does start to sound more like the “birth of the Matrix” – could this be a prequel to that wonderful trilogy?
Humans can use the web to find specific information that they want because they understand what is written on each web page. Thus, using the search form on the right, you can find schools or degree programs in areas that interest you.
Now, whilst a search engine can find all the web pages with “matrix” written on them, only humans can easily distinguish those pages that are about the film “The Matrix” rather than about mathematics. Semantic web technology is based on a vision in which web pages are “understood” by computers, so that they can perform more of the tedious work involved in finding, sharing and combining information on the web.
Clearly this exciting development will have a profound effect on our ability to use the Internet to find information and new knowledge.
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