With a sudden explosion of Twitter and the media reports around it, Web 2.0 is now being taken seriously. Well, at first glance anyway. A closer look shows that there is a lack of understanding of how it works at a basic level.
The first sign of this was the excellent “8 Questions to Ask your Social Media Expert” on Dave Fleet’s blog – a clear sign that people who’ve blogged a bit are now pitching freelance advice about Web 2.0.
Then came the Web 2.0 users and sites. Dave Briggs did a recent comment on London Mayor Boris and his use of Twitter as a broadcast medium, rather than an interactive tool – I’m not against this entirely, as it makes his message more accessible – but it isn’t Web2.0 and it a bit like using a juggernaut to drive to the shop to avoid the rain.
Then came the LocalGov’s announcement that Cheltenham Council had “embraced web 2.0“. Delighted, I rushed to the site and at first glance it was great. Using Flickr Feeds, for example, in the main council website is fantastic, and the site is certainly nice looking and accessible. However, as I delved into the site to find information about adult learning, I noticed that the Web2.0 front didn’t seem to extend into the website. By the time you get further in, it’s a traditional website with a few other ideas. The news releases had an RSS feed (which is better than some places) but that didn’t extend to tags. Tag is your news and web spaces would enable users to customize their own hyper-local news feed about the council. So do we have a Web2.0 experience here, or a better design of website, which includes an RSS or Flickr feed? It all seemed a bit like Web2.0 wasn’t being taken seriously enough – and then Dave Fleet came back onto thed subject, pointing out that even where Web2.0- is being trialed, it often leads users back to a badly made website or site that spoils the advantages Web 2.0 offers.
Luckily, there was salvation. Dave Briggs again (I do read more than two blogs, I promise) pointed to Lincoln Council’s Consultation site and Devon’s “Weathering the storm” blog. True, this is only one part of the councils’s agenda, but it is genuine Web2.0 – we can participate, influence and feed the information. Of course, where it is one part of the agenda, Dave Fleet’s ideas about the original web presense come into play – and it’s imnprotant local authorities think about this.
It would be so much better if local authorities concentrated on the small areas that lend themselves to Web2.0 (like consultation and, you’ll be suprised I think, adult learning) rather than trying to Web2.0 everything but actually Web1.2 everything. Of course, where it is one part of the agenda, Dave Fleet’s ideas about the original web presense come into play – and it’s imnprotant local authorities think about this too. We do seem to be making prgress into a a collaborative world – but we need to see more examples of Web 2.0, not lipservice 1.0.