Jun 05 2008

WorldView: Web 2.0 vs. The Great Firewall of China

Published by at 7:26 pm under Uncategorized

While writing an article for Business In Vancouver Magazine about the evolution of the Internet in China, I was asked to define, in a word, exactly what Web 2.0 meant. At first, I was a little taken aback. After all, entire books could be written on the subject. How was I supposed to define such an ubiquitous yet nebulous catch-phrase of the technorati era?

Forbidden City29

Fortunately, copious amounts of caffeine and a looming deadline were the spark of inspiration. Web 2.0 in a word? Freedom.

Web 2.0 is an Internet filled with websites and platforms that are community-based, promoting communication through new media (blogs/forums/video and audio sharing platforms) and sharing of ideas and technology.

If the old Internet was a city filled with brilliant but unresponsive giant billboards built by individuals with 100 per cent control of their message, Web 2.0 is a collection of giant town hall meetings involving hundreds of millions of people, where the message is what most people say it is.

Web 2.0 basically means free (as in “democratic”) Internet. That’s what makes the current situation in China so compelling, as technology and web development businesses ultimately have to adapt the free model of the Internet we’re used to in North America to the needs and rules that exist in that country.

Vancouver’s own tech community is involved in China’s burgeoning new media scene that may ultimately have an effect on the larger political culture of a country that many people think will be the dominant power in the 21st century. My article in BIV, Internet Technology To Grapple With The Great Firewall of China, just scratches the surface of a much larger story that’s evolving very fast.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “WorldView: Web 2.0 vs. The Great Firewall of China”

  1. Rob Campbellon 05 Jun 2008 at 7:31 pm

    I define web 2.0 as ‘rewards’ which is something else thats not popular in China yet I’m sure – Tom said web 2.0 engineers ‘an architecture of participation’ and thats the best expklanation ive ever heard…

  2. 2008 Currents Year In Review | Currentson 31 Dec 2008 at 9:53 am

    […] I write about the Great Firewall of China and ponder Vancouver’s success in creating a more environmentally sustainable transportation […]

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