POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Web 2.0

The term 'Web 2.0' describes a stage of development of the internet. Web 2.0 (alternatively, social web) does not mean technical developments but emphasizes the changed perception and use of known technologies. Tim O’Reilly first popularized the term Web 2.0 in a 2004 conference.

Prevent one-sided communication – Web 2.0 enables feedback and comments 

The most important element of Web 2.0 is the option of two-way communication through the internet. With social media (social software) users can comment on content, leave replies or post linked responses to all kinds of content. Thus, communication changes from a static and one-sided sender-recipient model to a dynamic model of two way interaction.

Additionally, the media loses a large part of it's monopoly on content. Programs are not produced and distributed by a few providers but every user can create and publish content (so-called user-generated content). This has led to somewhat of a headache for media outlets around the world. Print media is on the decline and online users are less willing to pay for media despite the rate at which they consume content.

It is essential to note that interaction between users is more in focus. Hence social networks, blogs, microblogs (e.g. Twitter), Wikis, discussion forums and open source software gain importance. 

Difference between Web 2.0 and Web 1.0

The term Web 2.0 is therefore often criticized as jargon-term because the features it describes was already part of the core idea of the internet. Making a clear differentiation between the terms Web 2.0 and Web 1.0 is difficult. Since the beginning, applications and services used principles, which are today attributed to social media. News and media outlets were some early adopters of discussion forums for example. Today’s social media services are just a constant development of these technologies. 

See also: Internet Election, Online Election, Online Poll, BSI Standards

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