Web 2.0 is a term that’s often misused. Some people use the term to refer to a particular style of graphics design, but that’s not what web 2.0 is really about. Web 2.0 is all about user-generated content.
This means the visitors to your site generate the majority of the content on the site, as opposed to the site owner or writers creating the content. A perfect example of web 2.0 is Squidoo. Squidoo is a social network, which is a type of web 2.0 site.
Although the site does post some of its own content, such as the lensmaster tip blog, the vast majority of the site was built by individuals creating their own pages within the site. When a user signs up to the site, they’re allowed to position themselves as experts on anything from A-Z (they even have a separate section for R and X rated pages that are kept from the general G-rated public).
They create a unique page on the Squidoo domain, with all sorts of information about their niche topic. They can create or join groups and post in the SquidU forum to communicate with others in the community.
One of the oldest types of web 2.0 sites is the forum. Forums are almost as old as the Internet itself, and they were one of the first types of web 2.0 concepts. Other very old web 2.0 predecessors were guestbooks, free-for-all link sites, and classified ad sites.
These days, web 2.0 sites are more complex. Rather than simply posting messages on a forum, users can typically generate their own profiles, create their own custom pages, and have more involvement in creating the site and its content.
There are many different types of web 2.0 sites. MySpace and Facebook are two well-known social networking sites. Blogger is a very popular blog platform, which allows people to develop a type of online diary or journal.
Twitter is somewhat like a blog, only users post very small snippets of content in each post. Social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon and Digg allow users to post their favorite links, and allow other people to vote on those links.
Squidoo and HubPages are two sites that let people create pages of information about specific subjects, a bit like a one-page website about a particular topic, similar to Wikipedia. The basic function of web 2.0 sites is to allow users to post their own content to the site.
Web 2.0 sites can be leveraged for marketing purposes if used correctly. The key is to immerse yourself in the community and become known as a real person rather than a nameless marketer hoping to cash in on their pooled traffic generation.