Calacanis: Web 3.0 is whatever I say it is

by Mathew on October 4, 2007 · 13 comments

Humpty Dumpty: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

Alice: “The question is, whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

You have to hand it to Jason Calacanis, the diminutive Web entrepreneur behind Mahalo, for completely ignoring all the ink and electrons that have been spilled writing about the concept of Web 3.0 — including conversations like the one I had with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the guy who invented the Web — and just coming up with his own definition. Not only that, he has the audacity to call it the “official” definition. Official according to whom? Why, to Jason, of course.

Not surprisingly, as Fred Wilson points out in his post, Jason’s definition is also effectively a thumbnail description of Mahalo, the people-powered search/directory service he is trying to build. Web 3.0, he says, is:

“the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using Web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform.”

That’s funny, because every time I’ve heard anyone who actually knows anything describe it, they use terms like “semantic Web,” and talk about adapting the way the Web is built so that information can be aggregated and linked in different ways automatically, as Josh Kopelman describes here. But that kind of definition wouldn’t suit Jason’s purposes, so in effect it doesn’t exist. I think I like the definition Jemima Kiss came up with better.

Further reading:

Brian Solis has some thoughts on what Web 3.0 is at Bubblicious, and so do Alex Iskold at Adaptive Blue, Jeremy Toeman at LiveDigitally, Allan Stern at CenterNetworks, and Eric Berlin at Online Media Cultist.

Update:

Jason has said that his post was just linkbait — to which Gabe Rivera gives the best response I’ve seen yet, in a comment on Jason’s blog (thanks to Megan McCarthy at Valleywag for the link). Gabe says:

“Yeah, I suppose you fooled Techmeme about your sincerity. Note that you also fooled Fred Wilson and Josh Kopelman in the process.

Training your readers to doubt you can be risky. Sometimes you want your posts taken at face value, e.g. those insisting your company is succeeding.”

Jason responds that the post was mostly sincere, and just the word “official” was linkbait — but in a comment on the Podtech blog he says the post was “90 per cent linkbait.”

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