Web 2.0 – A threat to the Internet?

It has been twenty years since the birth of the Internet in CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) took the world by storm. Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Internet, then had the vision of a “single universal information space” when he first submitted his proposed “World Wide Web” back in 1989. On 25 December 1990, with the help of Robert Cailliau and a young student at CERN, they successfully implemented the first communication between hypertext and the Internet. From then on, there is no looking back.  

Today, the revolution in the Internet consumption is becoming a far cry from Sir Timothy’s vision. As cited in an article in Creamgobal.com, Berners-Lee expressed concern that the way social network sites encourage the compartmentalising of data across the internet in a series of “walled garden” environments. (creamglobal.com, 2010) His beliefs hold true as we witness how these overzealous web application platforms such as Yahoo, Google, Facebook etc, operate in today’s Internet. They garner the users’ data and “owned” the rights to access to this information. Berners-Lee argued that this phenomenon will eventually lead to a fragmented web. In the same light, we can see that these applications are what we would identify as Web 2.0 application.

It is interesting to note that the Father of World Wide Web is frequently caught in the intertwining debates surrounding the term Web 2.0. With relation to my previous post, “Web 2.0 and STOMP”, we can see that when Tim O’Reilly first popularized term Web 2.0 in 2004, Berners-Lee was not very much convinced. But five years on, when he was interviewed in the Web 2.0 Summit 2009, he was convinced that Web 2.0 was indeed indifferent from Web 1.0. And recently in Nov 2010, it seemed that he had swayed back to the negative connotation of Web 2.0, in particularly when he expressed concerns over a social networking website (probably Facebook, I assumed) or one search engine (maybe Google in this case) gets too big that it become a monopoly. Berners-Lee believed that this can be an imminent threat to the usage of Internet in the future.

In our case, would it be of a concern that a Web 2.0 driven application, STOMP, that impressively achieved record breaking hit of 60.8million page views (refer to “STOMP Bonds and Teaches” blog post), be too big one day, that alter and changes the way our new generation Singaporean Youth’s usage of the Internet for information? Certainly not, I hope. But with the capabilities of Web 2.0, it is a possibility.



CERN (2008) Welcome to info.cern.ch, CERN 2008 Web Communication, assessed 04 Dec 2010, available at http://info.cern.ch/

ST. Andrew M. (2010) The latest threat to the Internet?, Creamglobal, assessed 01 Dec 2010, available at http://www.creamglobal.com/17799/23627/the-latest-threat-to-the-internet

Berners-Lee T. (2010) Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality, Scientific American, assessed 04 Dec 2010, available at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=long-live-the-web&page=1

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