Web 2.0 and Semantic Web

McManus wrote yet another great post today discussing Web 2.0 and Semantic Web. I cannot agree more with the sentiment he expresses in the article. Calm down people. Web 2.0 is not the devil. It is our friend. To all those Web 2.0 naysayers, if you do not like it do not use it. Do not talk about it. Do not invest in it. Please, however, leave those of us that are trying to build the next generation of the web in peace.

Now, let’s move on to the topic at hand–Web 2.0 vs. Semantic Web. It is not a competition. These two memes are complementary. The vision of Web 2.0, the web as platform for services that is bound together by people, can be facilitated by using Semantic Web technologies. What? That can’t be!!! Semantic Web people are a bunch of geeks at Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and Stanford that are trying to force us into using complicated ontologies and logic systems. Web 2.0 people are hippies that like tags, RSS, XML and free love.

Um…yea. For all those people that think that there is this vast difference between Web 2.0 and Semantic Web I have a message for you. The reason people are at battle over the two seemingly opposing philosophies is simple–semantics. Figure out what Web 2.0 really means. Figure out what Semantic Web technologies can accomplish. Forget the Scientific American article by TBL and think about the next steps that we need to take to accomplish the dream of Web 2.0. After that I think you will be excited that there are cool things on the way. Even the media darling Google has made moves towards this space, hiring one the premier pioneers in Semantic Web–Guha–this May. Guha spent the last several years of his life with Apple, Netscape, and Stanford working on RDF-related technologies. If you still don’t believe me–just wait–it will all be coming around sooner than you think. Later fanboys.

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