Let’s face it: the term Web 2.0 is as sexy as a brick (I originally wanted to put in “picnic table”, but after reading this article that I came across on Fark.com, I changed my mind). The part “Web” is sort of mildly cool still, but the trouble is in the appendix “2.0”. That bit just puts off non-geeks, and causes revulsion and almost allergic reactions at business men and women (their faces contort and they can hardly suppress a snort, well, okay, I might be slightly exaggerating).
Many people are using the term “Social Media” today in stead of Web 2.0. Social Media provides a nice umbrella for all collaborative technology. It comprises wikis, blog, microblogs and social networks. When it is wrapped in this new term, Web 2.0 definitely seems to be more easily adopted by the business. Although I believe that Web 2.0 has a broader meaning than Social Media, I can live with the new synonym.
The same thing happened to Extreme Programming, which has been having much trouble of getting adopted by the business. That’s why the umbrella term “Agile Methodology” came into existence (it was first coined somewhere in 2001 by one of the pioneers in Agile software development: Alistair Cockburn). Geeks are good at inventing stuff, but tend to have poor creativity when it comes to naming their babies. That is because their iron logic prevents them from doing that. A name should reflect the exact meaning of the named thing, right? Wrong. Raw logic usually doesn’t sell. You need to wrap it in something more appealing and add a few subtle frills here and there.
The bottom line of all this is that sex does sell, so that’s why technology that has been around for ages, can all of a sudden become hot because someone gave it a sexier name. Look at the term Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), for example. As logic as a hammer, but would you say a hammer is sexy? Now, I wonder if “Cloud Computing” is a sexy enough wrapper.
What do you think?

Mark Nankman is a UX Architect and Web 2.0 thought leader at Capgemini. His public brain waves can be followed on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mnankman