Web 2.0 is such a contentious term… I could never really understand why. Yeah, sure. It’s a buzzword and its meaning is kind of vague, but for me, it’s also been a call to action, a marshalling of the troups, a way to name the excitement that we should *all* be feeling, if we’re working in this space at the moment.
Now, before you write me off… yes, I was there for the last bubble. I was there before it, I worked through it, and I suffered the pain of the aftermath. (No, I didn’t get any shares that made me a millionaire, and I didn’t get one of those great redundancies that were going around… mostly, I just survived.)
I think the reason that Web 2.0 sits quite comfortably with me is because, rather than thinking of it as a new ‘version’ of the internet, I think of it as a new generation.
Generations are brief periods of time that were raved with pop cultures throughout the world. Many characteristics of these generations are the music, fads, and inventions placed in each period of time. (via wikipedia)
Generations don’t require ‘new’ things, they react and respond to the generation before them and to the social, political, technological, and media environment that they are born into. Theoretically, they learn from the mistakes of the past (although, this is not always the case!), the benefit from the learnings of their predecessors, they are more adept with advances in technology and live ‘natively’ with it – using it in ways that previous generations had never considered.
New generations are supposed to outrage their elders, to annoy them, to make them shake their heads and think of the good old days. They are supposed to make many of the same mistakes their elders have made, albeit in new ways (although, sometimes in v. old ways too), they are supposed to be troublesome and challenging and sometimes wild.
New generations have special traits that define them, tools that they use that they define them. They’re not necessarily *new* traits, or *new* tools, but it’s the combination of these things and the way that this new generation applies them that makes them new.
So, for me, web 2.0, with all the different definitions that people have for it, it’s just a natural generational shift.
It’s an exciting generational shift.
And the best thing about it is that *you* can be a part of it, if you’re willing to make the mindshift that’s required.
As someone who has found themself a little too young to be proper Generation X, and a little too old to pass herself off as Generation Y, Web 2.0 is a generation that I want to embrace.
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me