John McCann

Participation Web

In ParticipationWeb on May 30, 2006 at 5:40 pm

We are in the midst of a change in the World Wide Web from what some call the "static web" to a new environment that has been called, among other names, the New Neb, Web2.0, and the Read/WriteWeb. In this new environment, people offer web-based services that we can use for work and leisure purposes. The most popular services include MySpace, Flickr, Facebook, Blogger, MS Spaces, BitTorrent, Wikipedia and YouTube. All of these services share one common feature: they are all Participation Services (PS). A Participation Service is a website where people can place their content so that other people can read, listen, watch and/or view what they have produced, as well as enhance another person's content with their own comments and/or tags.

The collection of Participation Services forms the ParticipationWeb, a name that I believe best reflects what this new web has to offer: new ways for people to participate in Internet-based activities.

Of course, the web has always been about people being able to participate by building websites, leaving comments on other websites, entering into discussions on a forum, etc. The difference now is the ease by which one can publish almost any content in almost any medium. Patricia Russo, CEO of Lucent Technologies described this new environment in a recent USA Today article based on a roundtable discussion among CEO's of tech firms:

"… we think of it as four C's. It's collaboration. It's content — I don't even think we've begun to see the impact of video on these networks. It's converged services — doing multiple things. And it's community. The opportunity for those who get ahead and develop a set of services that are more personalized, customized, location-based and presence-based in this next generation is going to help define who can win"

The popular services listed above, the ones that are clearly winning today, are based on one or more of the four C's: collaboration, content, converged services and community. And these four C's provide a description of today's ParticipationWeb.

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