2/26: Speaking on Web 3.0 @ SMC / by Nate Westheimer

I'll be speaking at February's Social Media Club, on February 26th, on the topic of "Web 3.0." Get tickets here (and come to talk! It's an open discussion... I'm just helping manage it).

Long time readers of this blog know that I've had no love affair with the term "Web 3.0." Back in 2006, when the phrase was first scribbled on the front page of the New York Times, I wrote a scathing post called "Web 3.shut-the-f*ck-up-and-listen-to-yourselves."

As I said then, if anything would be a new revolution it would be bringing Web 2.0 technology into the hands of real people. My words were,

Web 3.0 = Web 1.0 + Web 2.0 ... Web 3.0 is really the intuition, sense and ease of '1.0' mixed with the participation generating intelligence (not intelligence generating participation) of Web 2.0.

I didn't know then what I know now, but those were words which would later be echoed, in part, by...

... Jason Calacanis, when he came out with his infamous "Web 3.0 is my company" post last summer. His argument was that,

Web 3.0 is defined as the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using Web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform.

Sound familiar? Didn't matter to me, because Jason and I actually differed on a major issue: that of experts using Web 2.0 technologies vs. regular folks being able to leverage Web 2.0 technologies.

Anyway, I came back and said my piece again: "I think most people are agreeing that the future of the web will actually involve people using new technology in some way... It’s as if Jason Calacanis thinks in 1.0."

But regardless of my thoughts, I've not often been in the mood to have this discussion (thus the foul language I throw around on these posts).

So, why am I joining a panel of folks talking about Web 3.0?

Because, while there's no real Web 3.0 to talk about, it has become increasingly clear that two themes are the front runners in this race -- call them the Obama and Clinton of web tech: The Semantic Web and the Personalized Web.

Now, the hard-core tech weenies among us are going to tell me that semantic technology and personalization is one and the same (look at the Social Graph API demonstration (demo here) to see how these two things converge), but this why I'm making the Obama/Clinton argument :-)

When identifying the next leader of web technology, we're identifying an approach, not an actual technology.

Web 2.0 is just this -- an approach -- while no single technology is "Web 2.0" (those claims are left up to the lame news-releases), a whole bunch of companies combine interesting technologies in ways which are clearly Web 2.0

So, we have the Semantic Web and the Personalized Web in the running for the next big wave of web innovation, and we have to start thinking about how this reality is going to affect business on a broader scale.

The Social Media Club, for instance, attracts a mostly PR/Marketing crowd, so I would like to get these folks thinking mostly about the Personalized Web -- a Web where folks can reach their customers or audience members in a more targeted way, using the various information they can learn about them from the Web.

Anyway, this is what I plan on bringing to light at the meeting. Hopefully other folks will attend and add more insight than I can.