A colleague sent me a link to this article from CNN: Web 2.0 is so over. Welcome to Web 3.0
I've been an evangelist for all things Web 2.0 in an online 23 things class. The prospect of web-based applications disappearing overnight because they aren't making any money would be enough to discourage a great number of teachers from ever dipping their toe in the Web 2.0 waters. Teachers hate it when their word processor is upgraded, or their electronic gradebook changes from one provider to another. They won't be thrilled with the prospect of their wiki or blog or any number of other applications they've invested a lot of time in suddenly going away, often without warning.
Here is my email response to my colleague. It isn't especially compelling or noteworthy, but it's my passionate, heartfelt, reflective response to the article:
There are websites that appear and disappear all the time. For example, I really liked sketchcast.com. Here today, gone tomorrow, and now it's back again. Sort of. The big money players like Google and Yahoo will be fine, but the little guys still have "I hope Google or Yahoo buys me" at the center of their business plan.
The only good news is that once the coding has been done, most applications rely on server space, and it has become ridiculously cheap compared to what it once was. I think many sites will be free for awhile to hook the users, then take their site out of beta and ask for a minimal subscription fee. The Jing Project just did that... they still have a free version, but their "Pro" version costs $15 a year. And another favorite of mine, Voicethread, has a $60 annual classroom subscription price. I don't think that's unreasonable. So while apps may not be forever free, they will still be affordable to most users. I can live with that.
The bigger picture of web 2.0, in my opinion, revolves around the idea that ANYONE can be a writer, publisher, photographer, videographer, etc. and be able to display their work for the whole world to see, regardless of the application or website they used. It's so much easier and doesn't require any special HTML skills, or a domain, or a server, or FTP, or any of that mumbo jumbo that required one to be a webmaster.
I can shoot a picture and have it up on Flickr in seconds. I can edit a video and have it seen by millions of people if it's good. I can write my own book of poetry or a novel and I don't need a publisher, or an agent or an editor... I can perform and share my music without a recording contract or a producer or a publicist... well you get the idea. That is especially powerful and meaningful for our STUDENTS! They now have an AUDIENCE!
The other unique aspect of web 2.0 is the ability to collaborate with people from around the world. If I'm into the bagpipes there may not be anyone for 100 miles around I can share my hobby with. But online, I can probably find 100's of people to communicate and share with. Obviously if someone is into bomb-making that's a whole other problem we need to be concerned about, but I choose to focus on the positive aspects. Again, a very powerful paradigm shift for our classroom-- my classmates are the citizens of the world!
So although websites and applications may come and go, the fundamental ways in which we communicate and collaborate have changed for the better with the advent of web 2.0.