A Fortune Cookie for Web 2.0

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Web 2.0 lately. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about tagging and collective ownership (and sharing) of information. While these aren’t necessarily Web 2.0 in and of themselves – indeed, Web 2.0 is merely (depending on your thought-leader of choice) the notion of the Web as a platform – I think they are becoming integral parts of the concept, and I think they complement one another.

Tagging helps to organize (describe) information in a way in which it is easy for someone other than the “tagger” to find relevant data. There is no obfuscated taxonomy or nomenclature that one must figure out (like with most category- and folder-based systems), and, with the way most tag-based applications now work (i.e. del.icio.us, Flickr), others may add their own tags, so the overall value of the description increases, thus making it easier to find. Flickr even assigns a ranking to this value (which also adds in other attributes such as number of views, etc.) so you can find your “most interesting” photos. All of this works together, making it easier to share information.

So, you can see that I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to this, so it’s no surprise that Web 2.0 was the first thing that sprung to mind when I broke open my fortune cookie tonight after dinner. This was the fortune:

Doing little things well is a step towards doing big things better.

If Web 2.0 has a motto, then this is it. A typical Web 2.0 application is one that picks one thing and does it well. Then, it provides (or should) an open API for others to share in the information available from the one thing done well. As more and more of these applications pop up, there will be mounds and mounds – indeed, there already are – of rich data for all to share. This is the platform. This is the “big thing” that is made better by the “little things” of Web 2.0.