Is Web 2.0 Only for Geeks?


I’ve been thinking and posting about all these new Web 2.0 applications a lot lately. There’s no doubt that there are some great applications our there, most of them free, that can greatly enhance, simplify and organize our lives.

But here’s what starting to bug me: does anyone other than us know about them? Is Web 2.0 about everyone, or just the geeks (like me) who follow technology closely?

I can’t even get my friends and family to use Flickr, so how am I going to get them to use any of these things?

After I posted my mini-review of the best of the Web 2.0 applications, I asked some of my non-geek friends if they saw the post. Many of them said yes. But when I asked what they thought, they almost universally said that they didn’t really understand what all those programs did, and that they didn’t have the time (they meant inclination, but were being gentle) to try to figure it out.

There’s an obvious and substantial payoff to learning how to use Flickr. Our jobs require us to use email and Word. But the payoff for a lot of these Web 2.0 applications is more subtle, more remote. If Flickr is on the wrong side of the effort line, where does that leave these other applications?

So I wonder if the rest of the population really cares about Web 2.0? Is it enough that the technorati follows the development of these applications and eagerly uses them? I bet even the technorati’s use of many of these applications tapers off over time. I love to try out these new applications, but maybe one in ten becomes a part of my core application list (Flickr, and Technorati being the big three so far).

Maybe over time all this stuff will be second nature to all the moms, dads, students and teachers. But we aren’t there yet (by a long shot) and it seems to me it will take some time to get there.

What does this mean for Web 2.0?

Will it change the world or is it just a passing fad of the technorati?