The Next Web

Earlier this week, I gave a presentation on Web 2.0 technologies and trends to my nonprofit. It was a good time, and I think my audience appreciated the overview of technologies that, if you're used to thinking of the web as a publishing platform, redefine the web. The strange thing was, as I prepared the presentation, I started to feel like, "this is all so old." I think the presentation was well targeted for my audience; however, the themes that define Web 2.0 feel like they're largely on the down-stroke of intellectual excitement (see tagging for an example). This isn't to say Web 2.0 is dead or that the ideas are completely played out. They are just entering the mainstream. The dizzy enthusiasm seems more tempered with reality, and I think we're going to see the long, slow work of turning promise into workable solutions for non-geeks.

This has brought me to think about what a presentation on the bleeding edge would really look like. I'm planning on actually putting together the presentation, but for now, just planning it is enough work. In my Web 2.0 presentation, I claimed that the there is no "Web 2.0" per se (it's not like a new version of HTTP came out and everyone upgraded in 2004); instead, Web 2.0 is several technologies that all enable sharing by many people by lowering the barriers to participating on the web. The Next Web will be something similar, I suspect -- several technologies will converge to adjust how we conceive of and use the web to communicate. In my estimation, the key technologies will be

  • universal, persistent identification
  • fragmented and then reunified social networks
  • reputation management
  • real, easy metadata
  • location aware content
  • significantly increased usability
  • wetware, or humans solving problems that we expected artificial intelligence (AI) to be doing by now
  • increasingly, more AI involvement in searching, navigating, and selecting

Each of these themes is probably worth a blog post in itself for explanation, justification, and examples. Also, expect the pithy bullets to be rephrased a few times over the next few days as I add claims related to this post.