What is more relevant -- the words "Web 2.0" or the Web technologies that are considered a part of Web 2.0? Most people who don't work in the IT/Web industries couldn't tell you the difference between a wiki
, yet these and other tools help them manage their content or conduct their online searches with great ease.
So does it matter that the general public doesn't know meaning behind the buzz words?
While it's always important for users to use the technology provided to them, I argue that it's more important for them to understand the significance of the technology.
Often clients ask me to incorporate a blog into their site. After inquiring about how often they intend to update the content, for whom the content is meant, and who'll be supplying it, it sometimes becomes clear that a blog isn't the right the tool after all.
Perhaps they'd be better off building a news module into their CMS or uploading documents into a gallery. Whatever the option, it's apparent that clients throw buzz words around without understanding what it all means. They seem to think it's our job alone to figure out what's best for them. Though that's what we're hired for, it's also helpful if the client can articulate their needs and wants, beyond the usual "make it look pretty" or "do what our competitor does".
Recently, Web 2.0 has been scrutinized
. Has it let users become too intrusive? Has it compromised the quality and accuracy of content
? Is it nothing more than marketing hype?
Or does it represent a substantial change in the way users and businesses approach Web technology? ComputerWorld seems to think
that at the very least, it has "created an ongoing need for particular types of skills".
And yet, the greater need seems to be for the masses to see beyond the words that get tossed around, like government acronyms. After awhile, everything sounds the same and the wrong words get used and misunderstandings arise.
As designers, information architects, IT professionals and beyond, we have an obligation not only to keep our skills up to speed with the latest and greatest Web technologies, we have a duty to inform our clients about the technologies being implemented, so that our geekspeak doesn't become just marketing hype and buzz words specific to our industry.