If you build 2.0 he will come

The birth of Web 2.0 came to fruition in the year 2001 after the dot-com bubble burst leaving scores of companies bankrupt. A handful managed to survive and it was noticed that these survivors all had something in common. These commonalities were the defining characteristics of WEB 2.0, a term coined by O’Reilly Media who conducted the analysis along with MediaLive International.

A new revolution of how users would engage the internet was born. The era of Web 2.0 had arrived. Web 2.0 applications provided a platform that enabled collaboration and empowerment to its users.

This paradigm has been coined Harnessing the Collective Intelligence by Tim O’Reilly. There are two key principles that allow this process to prosper. The first key principle is that the users add value. Through the users participation on the web 2.0 platform by creating content, uploading and sharing their ideas and thoughts they are can both directly and indirectly add value.

The second principle is that network effects magnify this value.

Web 2.0 thrives on network effects: databases that get richer the more people interact with them, applications that are smarter the more people use them, marketing that is driven by user stories and experiences, and applications that interact with each other to form a broader computing platform.

By involving users both implicitly and explicitly the interaction will become more meaningful and enjoyable. Web 2.0 technologies should facilitate emergence by allowing the particular application to transform to suit the users needs. The ability for the application to be fluid and less structured will enhance the experience by the users. Web 2.0 applications have been developed to allow users to create web pages and content with little or no understanding of HTML.



WordPress is web software that enables uses to create websites or blogs. The platform is totally free and the core components of the platform were built by hundreds of community volunteers.

The success of Word press is attributed to their ability to allow users to feel empowered and to provide the platform for free. Although their are minor structural features to the platform each user has the ability to develop and create their own unique content which they can share online for free utilising thousands of plugins and themes.

By providing the platform for free Word Press have exceeded over 25 million users thus enabling the network effect. With more users comes more interaction and more content and a richer experience for its users.

There is ability for users to collaborate online with each other and also across other web 2.0 platforms through the adding of external content and links.

Word Press is an excellent example of how harnessing the collective intelligence of its users can enhance their experience and propagate further successful growth.

  1. March 23, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Web 2.0 has dominated our lives the last ten years (I feel old now) and WordPress has been there for the many users that have used blogging as a form of self expression and sharing of thoughts. Sadly i feel I have failed achieving the possible network effects that occur within the WordPress community. I’ve only used the service as a means to create my personal brand whilst not really becoming engaged within the wider WordPress community. 😦

    However being actively involved within ‘Web 2.0 Community’ does open the door to the masses where there is always the potential for value adding experiences. As you said in your title, “If you build 2.0, he(they?) will come!”

    • brendanread
      March 24, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      Thanks for your comments Brian. I think that working towards greater collaboration on platforms such as WordPress will only enhance your experience even further!

  2. Sirous
    March 29, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Really enjoyed of your post. Good introduction to web 2.0 and harnessing collective intelligence with good example of WordPress. Keep going.

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