More on mobility and Web 2.0
Anyway, I was listening to the ITConversations podcast from MySQL user conference by Tim O'Reilly, and he said something that struck a chord: "Web 2.0 is about participation."
Weblogs, wikis, eBay, Amazon.com recommendations, Google pagerank, Flickr, del.icio.us - these are all Web 2.0 services that are built on the infrastructure of participation: anyone can start a weblog. Anyone can contribute to Wikipedia. Anyone can write an Amazon.com recommendation. Anyone can put a web page on the internet, and link to sites they think are good, and increase the Google ranking of those sites. Not everyone needs to be a blogger, but there might be a discussion board somewhere, or a guest book, or even just email, with which you can forward funny links you found on the net. On Web 2.0, people can participate on the services themselves - it's about people sharing and working with others, not corporations or governments or entertainment companies providing content for consumers. They have their place, but streaming multimedia Hollywood H.264 content via hyper-fast 4.5G high-QoS hybrid UMA networks is not what the future is going to look like.
Which brings me to my previous post and mobile phones. Quite a lot of the success of the mobile phones could maybe be attributed also to a culture of participation: anyone can buy a phone. Anyone can make a phone call to anyone. Anyone can send an SMS to anyone else with a mobile phone. Would WAP had been a success, if anyone could've been able to provide content for it - and there had been an easy way to share that content between your friends? (As an aside: have you tried forwarding a link to a web site with a comment to your friend on a mobile phone? It can be done. It might take longer than it takes to read the EU constitution, but it can be done.)
So... How to design mobile applications for Web 2.0? Design for participation. Make sure everyone can contribute. Trust your users. Let them contribute, because they do have something to say. You might not like it, but it is important to them. And try to understand what mobility, the background quality, the connectedness, and the fact that you don't have to consciously use a service for it to be useful, might mean. Make services that make the mobile phone users first-class citizens, and not just guys with crummy browsers and bad connectivity.
I mean... The Web 2.0 is here. We've had it for years, ever since the first email list was created, or the USENET saw the light. It was here before it was even called Web 1.0. It's not really that new, you know. It's just that people have sort of woken up to it now.
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