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Dan Rubin's SuperfluousBanter

Suffering from chronic idiocy since 1977


Web 2.0 Cultists

Lately I’ve found myself hav­ing the fol­low­ing “dis­cus­sion” (I pre­fer “heated debate” myself) regard­ing ‘Web 2.0’, usu­ally with some­one who has con­sumed a cer­tain amount of Web 2.0 Kool-aid:

cultist: “I want to make sure we have enough Web 2.0 fea­tures in our application.”

me: “‘Web 2.0’ is just a term, and doesn’t sig­nify any­thing impor­tant in and of itself. Sure, it’s a way of eas­ily defin­ing things like improved usabil­ity, user-centric design, friendly appli­ca­tions, and other tan­gi­ble con­cepts that devel­op­ers and design­ers can and should take to heart, but it only refers to those prac­tices because we’ve decided it should, as a community.”

cultist: “But ‘Web 2.0’ is such a sim­ple way of say­ing all those things! It makes it much eas­ier for peo­ple to under­stand what they should be doing!”

me: “Just like ‘AJAX’ makes it eas­ier for peo­ple to lump ‘super­flu­ous JavaScript visual effects’ under the same ter­mi­nol­ogy as ‘com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the server with­out a reload’? ‘AJAX’ is not syn­ony­mous with ‘ani­ma­tion’, peo­ple! It’s impor­tant to know the dif­fer­ence as web devel­op­ers and design­ers; it’s up to us to be the respon­si­ble party.”

cultist: “But peo­ple don’t under­stand those things if there isn’t a sim­ple term to describe them!”

me: “Then per­haps they shouldn’t be using some­thing they don’t understand.”

This item was posted by Dan Rubin on Friday, April 6th, 2007.


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24 comments on “Web 2.0 Cultists”

  1. Posted by Jina Bolton on Friday, April 6th, 2007.

    I added some web2.0 fea­tures in my laun­dry the other day and my clothes came out super soft. They even smell great!

  2. Posted by Bryan Veloso on Friday, April 6th, 2007.

    Web2.0 helps me dance the dance dance better.

  3. Posted by Shawn Grimes on Friday, April 6th, 2007.

    That’s crazy, every­one knows that Web 2.0 is just big fonts and bright col­ors and Ajax makes things slide in/out/away/fade et cetera, gosh. See I’m down!

    Ajax also helps me tie my shoes better.

  4. Posted by Luke Dorny on Friday, April 6th, 2007.

    i installed asyn­chro­nous turn sig­nals and an exten­si­ble blow-off valve on the turbo. My car dri­ves with­out refuelling…

  5. Posted by Luke Seeley on Friday, April 6th, 2007.

    You have no idea how many times I’ve had peo­ple ask me to “Ajax-it-up!”. I totally agree with the ridicu­lous equiv­a­lence peo­ple draw between Ajax and the scrip­tac­u­lous effects.

  6. Posted by Wade Winningham on Friday, April 6th, 2007.

    Sounds like a Dil­bert cartoon.

  7. Posted by web on Saturday, April 7th, 2007.

    I’m drink­ing the Kool-aid, but I find myself hav­ing to defend the idea that not every page request should be tucked away in javascript.

    I’m all for AJAX being baked into a site when it enhances the user expe­ri­ence some­how but it just seems some­times that nobody wants to be the last one invited to the “I just over­com­pli­cated my site and increased restric­tions for almost no gain” party.

    When you have a ham­mer — every­thing looks like a nail I guess.

    How­ever, it does keep my floors clean.

  8. Posted by Francois on Saturday, April 7th, 2007.

    Web2? I thought it was those ww2 domains!?! I hear Vista has Ajax ani­mated cur­sors… way cool!

  9. Posted by Dan Bowling on Saturday, April 7th, 2007.

    The whole buzz around Web 2.0 seems to exem­plify the mis­take clients often make when talk­ing to a designer/developer: they focus on a buzz, rather than real fea­tures. Sure, much of the 2.0 craze is about improv­ing the user expe­ri­ence, but it is our job to edu­cate clients that all the 2.0 things are mere after­thoughts of the actual prod­uct, and not a sell­ing point in themselves.

  10. Posted by Rob Goodlatte on Monday, April 9th, 2007.

    It’s amaz­ing how many client briefs I get ask­ing for “Web 2.0″-style designs. I’ve even got­ten requests for “Web 2.0 Com­pli­ance”, or adop­tion of “Web 2.0 standards”.

    Tim O’Reilly and Mike Arring­ton need to stop spread­ing the term — it really sets us all back.

  11. Posted by Ryan Brill on Monday, April 9th, 2007.

    I pre­fer the term “Web 2.blow”, but whatever…

  12. Posted by Sera on Monday, April 9th, 2007.

    Web 2.0 word­press themes usu­ally seem to be poorly put together.
    I guess I’m just too old-school.. :P Like 1999.

  13. Posted by Stephane Deschamps on Tuesday, April 10th, 2007.

    Oh what a relief to know that I’m not the only one hav­ing to put up with this crap.

    Every day a new man­ager comes and says “where can I put Web2.0 in my website?”.

    Those peo­ple are crazy, they mis­take the buzz­word for the state of things.

  14. Posted by Jason Calleiro on Thursday, April 12th, 2007.

    client of the month award goes to… “Now what fea­tures can we put in this to take it to web 3.0?”

  15. Posted by Patrick Haney on Thursday, April 12th, 2007.


    (See what I did right there? I didn’t make any argu­ment after your argu­ment and I said “touché” any­way. Like that Mac ad. Crazy PCs…)

    I don’t like using “Web 2.0″ because gen­er­ally it doesn’t mean any­thing spe­cific. It’s like mak­ing up your own word and giv­ing it mean­ing that is only rel­e­vant to what you’re talk­ing about.

    How about we just say “let’s make this site more user friendly and appeal­ing to the eye?”

  16. Posted by mike on Monday, April 23rd, 2007.

    me: “Then per­haps they shouldn’t be using some­thing they don’t understand.”

    That to me sounds exactly like “Don’t come to this coun­try if you can’t speak the language.”

    How about we spend more time talk­ing about how to under­stand it, than berat­ing those that don’t.

  17. Posted by Dan Rubin on Monday, April 23rd, 2007.

    @Mike: I think that’s an extreme view–I’m not sug­gest­ing peo­ple shouldn’t dive in and try to learn if they don’t under­stand what’s involved. Using your exam­ple, the prob­lem is more like some­one think­ing they know Chi­nese when they are actu­ally speak­ing Japan­ese, and then telling every­one how won­der­ful the Chi­nese lan­guage is and that we should all learn it (not say­ing we shouldn’t, but you get the idea :)

    The over­all point is that it is the respon­si­bil­ity of a pro­fes­sional in this indus­try to have an under­stand­ing of the tech­nol­ogy and ter­mi­nol­ogy, and to encour­age edu­ca­tion of clients and within the field.

  18. Posted by Matthew on Friday, May 11th, 2007.

    I had to write an essay on Web 2.0 and I am more con­fused than ever.

  19. Posted by Renato Targa on Saturday, May 19th, 2007.

    And to the Chinese/Japanese lan­guage anal­ogy of your response to Mike: Bravissimo!!

  20. Posted by B on Thursday, July 12th, 2007.

    This whole web 2.0 story reminds me of the 3G mobile phone adver­tis­ing cam­paign that ran in my home coun­try, basi­cally after this advert appeared on tv every­one thought 3G was being able to video con­fer­ence over your mobile :?

    Sell­ing cars when you are sell­ing petrol because cars are “kewl”

  21. Posted by SEO Carly on Friday, July 27th, 2007.

    That’s ok, some­one offered to sell me a Web 2.0 domain name the other day. So i had to ask, “Waht makes the domain a Web 2.0 domain?”

    Answer: Because it’s short and not spelt right or means noth­ing like Digg, Flickr, Squidoo etc.

    Right.. Ok.. I guess prob­lems evolve just like stu­pid people.

  22. Posted by BobbR on Wednesday, August 15th, 2007.

    It’s about the Web 2.0 Validator:


  23. Posted by David Kypuros on Thursday, August 16th, 2007.

    very insight­ful.

    I think a lot of this stems from folks who don’t hand code AJAX, but find ways to use it in web apps. This leads to the “AJAX = Drag/Drap” mentality.

    I’m not being a snob, I don’t to hand code AJAX myself. For peo­ple who are hand coders, I could see how it would severely piss them off.