A "participative" Web 2.0 seems to be replacing the original Web 1.0 where content was provided by site managers. Now, 50 million bloggers use sites like Technorati to distill the opinions of their colleagues into the latest buzz. Tagging systems, like delicious and RSS, are creating a more powerful form of search that uses the judgment of millions to find anything of interest. Open-source software spontaneously designed by volunteers is growing because it's cheaper and more reliable than "hierarchy" built systems. The huge popularity of Wikipedia, YouTube, MySpace, and other Web 2.0 sites all reflect this shift from a top-down Internet to a bottom-up Internet in which the vast knowledge or ordinary people is harvested to create a virtual form of collaborative wisdom and shared experience. Any mass-based movement is subject to the dangers of group think and reckless fads, of course, and it is not appropriate in many cases. Some think Al Qaeda is a good example of a participative, web-based organization inspired by a common ideology. Supporters point to the rise of prediction markets, citizen journalism, and other useful new systems as emblematic of this emerging organic structure. "Power is shifting to the individual and away from giant companies," said the chairman of techcrunch.com. (BusinessWeek, 3/13/06) The TechCast Expert Panel estimates Web 2.0 will dominate the Internet about 2009 as technical advances and rising social interest move the web in this direction very quickly.
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