1 March 2011
The short answer is it's not; and no, you can't. The long answer is that it's already out, honey, and if you haven't gotten yours yet, you better hurry up because supplies are limited.
Ok. That's not completely true.
Web 3.0, like 2.0, isn't a new gadget; it isn't a new programming language; it isn't an iPhone app. You can't download it; you can't code it; and you can't design around it. Like 2.0, 3.0 is just a label for a concept. And, at this stage, a somewhat vague concept at that. It's kind of like "the Renaissance", "the Enlightenment", or "the Dark Ages." No one person invented any of those things, though each had key movers and shakers. No one person invented Web 2.0 either, and no one called it Web 2.0 until we were smack dab in the middle of it.
Like the Renaissance or Enlightenment, 2.0 and 3.0 represent major shifts in the ways the internet is used, in the kinds of people who are using it, and in the applications that have grown out of those uses. They're just the words with which we label these paradigm shifts in how we use the internet.
The production of the web was in the hands of the techno-elite: the people with the cash and the know-how to produce and publish webpages. There's a rigid distinction between "publisher" and "audience" -- 90% of us web users fell into the latter category. Publishers produced web pages, and we consumed them -- whether these were news sites, ecommerce sites, or porn sites.
In 1999, a tech consultant named Darcy DiNucci referred to something she called Web 2.0, which she described as "the ether through which interactivity happens." In the early 2000's the term acquired wider recognition as a way of describing current trends in internet usage. The web became more than a simple matter of people downloading information. As users, we started taking charge. The audience became the publisher. We started blogging; we could use simple desktop applications like Dreamweaver to produce our own webpages; we could hawk our goods on Yahoo! store or eBay auctions; we could upload our own sex lives on porn video sharing sites. The audience became the publisher. YouTube, MySpace, eBay, Blogspot, Paypal, Facebook, Friendster, Twitter...suddenly everyone could be a publisher and the web became a space of social networking and collaboration.
There's much discussion about what the next big thing will be...the next major paradigm shift in internet use and functionality. Much discussion and little consensus. But much of this discussion revolves around some central ideas: