Web Surfers Are Building the New Web

Posted on September 19, 2005

BusinessWeek has an interesting article that says the new web is being built by you -- the web surfer. The article talks about websites that are powered by users like MySpace.com, Del.icio.us, Flickr, Meetup and Wikipedia.

And this time, it's Your Web. No longer content to be merely viewers and consumers, people increasingly are taking an active part in creating their online lives. With its longtime tagline, "The network is the computer," Sun Microsystems Inc. (SUNW ) made the case that computing transcended hardware. Sun President Jonathan Schwartz thinks another crucial shift is under way: "The network is now your computer."

At many new Web sites and services, the creative energy of countless souls virtually crackles off the screen. They're cobbling together their own services from customizable Web sites and Lego-style pieces of Web software. By the millions, they're gathering and disseminating their own news with blogs and podcasts, creating customized article and photo feeds from their favorite sites and even annotating them with helpful text tags that others can search for on the Web site del.icio.us. They're producing their own entertainment on video, social-networking, game, and photo-sharing sites such as Yahoo's Flickr. At MySpace.com, some 21 million monthly visitors spend up to several hours a day sharing their thoughts, photos, and music with friends on personalized home pages. Ditto at Cyworld, which claims almost a third of South Korea's 48 million people as members.

"The Web isn't so much a place anymore," explains Ross Mayfield, CEO of Palo Alto (Calif.)-based startup Socialtext Inc., which offers services to create collaborative Web sites called wikis. It's more of a doorway into services, from the user-written reference site Wikipedia to the community organizing service Meetup to the folksy classifieds site Craigslist. As Mayfield noted in a recent blog post, "They Google (GOOG ), Flickr, blog, contribute to Wikipedia, Socialtext it, Meetup, post, subscribe, feed, annotate, and above all share. In other words, the Web is increasingly less about places and other nouns, but verbs."

The article also says that the web will continue to develop more services like the ones mentioned above and new programming tools will make the web even more user-friendly and customizable.

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