The Advantages and Disadvantages of Web 2.0
While Web 2.0 has become a popular term these days, few people have taken the time to weigh the pros and cons of these evolutionary change. While the advantages are heavily touted by those who are proponents of Web 2.0, there are also those who feel that this technology will do more harm than good.
In this article, I wish to go over the key advantages and disadvantages of Web 2.0, and this will give readers the ability to decide what they think. However, to understand the pros and cons of Web 2.0, it is first important to know what it is. Web 2.0 is an enhancement of the existing Internet. To break it down into a single definition that is relatively simple, Web 2.0 is a system in which online users become participants rather than mere viewers.
With Web 2.0, information can be pulled from a number of different places, and it can be personalized to meet the needs of a single user. Applications can be built on the existing applications that comprise the Web 2.0 interface. It could be said that Web 2.0 will allow the mass population to communicate with each other and spread ideas rather than receiving their information from a single authority. Based on the descriptions above, it should be easy to see the advantages of this system. Information will flow freely, and people can express their ideas without fear of repression. Web 2.0 would make the Internet a true democratic system, a digital democracy.
The population as a whole would become more informed. Instead of getting information from once source that could have an agenda, they can receive their information from multiple sources, and this will allow them to make better decisions about the world around them. A good example of this is the ability to read newspapers from various countries other than the one you reside in. You can view events from more than one perspective, and this allows you to be a more well informed person. Another powerful advantage of Web 2.0 is communication. It has become obvious that the Internet is one of the greatest communication mediums in the world.
In my personal opinion, the Internet surpasses even the telephone and printing press. The reason I say this is because the masses can communicate with each other without the oversight of governments or corporations. This has created an environment where ideas and freedom is allowed to flow unrestricted. People can communicate from around the world for a fraction of the cost they would pay to make an international phone call. Web 2.0 will make the Internet more personalized. Everyone has different needs, and Web 2.0 will allow each individual to have information that is tailored to their needs and interests.
However, there are a number of disadvantages to Web 2.0 as well. Unfortunately, this information is rarely discussed in the media. Too many people push the benefits of Web 2.0 without taking the time to educate people about the problems. One of the key problems with Web 2.0 is dependence. I’m a good example of what happens when you become heavily dependent on the Internet. If your connection should go down, how will you access the information that you come to depend on? Because many web services will be offered for free, they won’t be secure, and they could easily be targeted by hackers.
While I’m a firm believer in the Internet, I don’t accept the idea of a "paperless" office. Many people feel that Web 2.0 can facilitate this, but I feel it is a dangerous trend. No matter how advanced the Internet becomes, it is very important for some things to be kept in a hard copy form. If your hard drive crashes, and you didn’t back up your information, you could lose months for even years of work. This is something that few of us can afford. Sharing is also an issue that will become controversial. What happens when users begin sharing information that is copyrighted? How will people be paid for the work they do? If videos, music, movies, and other information can be shared freely, how can a profit be generated? These are challenges that people will have to face once Web 2.0 is introduced.