The term Web 2.0 is getting a bad wrap these days. Some influential bloggers are tired of hearing the term being thrown around left and right and of people marketing themselves as Web 2.0 experts. On Valentine’s Day TechCrunch posted an article saying that Web 2.0 is dying for two main reasons:
1. The number of startups that contact them and include the term Web 2.0 in the subject line or message has decreased.
2. Google Trends shows the search term Web 2.0 peaking in 2007 and then falling back to the level it reached in early 2006 today.
Just to make sure we are on the same page let’s quickly define Web 2.0 – the collaboration and evolution of communities on the web such as social networking sites, niche sharing sites, etc. Are online communities like Twitter and video sharing sites like YouTube dying?
According to Quantcast in the last six months:
• Twitter has grown from a community of 1.1 million people to 4.1 million.
• Facebook has grown from over 36 million to over 64 million.
• Flickr has grown from approximately 22 million to 24.3 million.
• LinkedIn has seen a decline over the past 3 months. In November they had an estimated 24 million and it dropped to 18.3 million in February.
• MySpace has seen a decline in web traffic. They went from over 70 million to 67.9 million.
• Ning has grown from over 2.2 million to 6.2 million.
• SecondLife has grown from over 900,000 to 1.3 million.
• YouTube has grown from over 72 million to 77.9 million – although they did experience some dips in traffic from October – December.
Overall the big social networking communities are continuing to grow as more people dive into the “Web 2.0 world” and want to be a part of these communities or use their tools. While LinkedIn and MySpace’s traffic decreased it does not signify the end of these two social networking sites. MySpace is ranked as the 8th most trafficked site followed by Facebook ranked at number 9. LinkedIn is ranked at number 86.
Perhaps the reason the search term “Web 2.0” has leveled off in Google Trends is because more and more people understand the definition of Web 2.0. For example, blogger Asif Anwar pointed out, that Google Trends shows the word “Internet” peaking in 2004 and declining between 2005 and 2008. Obviously the Internet is not dying.
Sometimes terms in the tech and online marketing industry become buzzwords and that turns people off because it becomes too trendy. But let’s keep this in perspective. At the end of the day, Web 2.0 is just a term Tim O’Reilly coined to describe the collaboration and evolution of communities. While it’s not going away anytime soon, Web 2.0 will evolve and transform just like everything else on the web. Just wait until the Web 4.0 revolution. It’s going to knock your socks off 🙂