Web 2.0 is a reference to the increased interactivity of the Internet, and the ability for users to participate in it, instead of simply passively viewing it, and the term may be more generally applied to social media. There is some argument on who coined the term, but it has become used often since the mid-2000s, as the Internet has dramatically changed in capability. This has led to a number of conferences to address or showcase these changes and one of these was the popular Web 2.0 Conference. The conference still exists but its name has changed to the Web 2.0 Summit and the Web 2.0 Expo.
Web 2.0 Conference was established by O’Reilly Media, which was founded in the late 70s by tech guru and publisher Tim O’Reilly. The company has always had a strong Internet presence and been part of the innovations associated with the Internet. Since they publish many books on tech subjects, they’ve become an essential link to understanding the many complex changes in web and other computer programming. Yet, to some, O’Reilly may be best known for their many conferences, which include the Where 2.0 conferences and Gov 2.0 Summits and Showcases.
The first Web 2.0 Conference was held in San Francisco in 2004, and featured a lineup of speakers that were at the forefront of developing Internet applications at the time. The conference was very much designed for business people and investors to bring them into the loop about the way the web was working and its potential for new developments. The success of this first conference led to a desire for yearly conferences.
At the same time that business people, programmers and investors were fascinated by listening to speakers, there was much interest from the average Internet-savvy person to understand new applications on the web and the potentials for new development. This ultimately led to O’Reilly offering not only a conference each year but also an Expo. Expos do feature speakers, but they also have a huge range of product demonstrations, and some very well known speakers. Though at present the Web 2.0 conference has remained located in San Francisco, O’Reilly has hosted Expos in San Francisco, New York and Berlin, Germany.
At present, the Web 2.0 Conference, (now Summit) is an invitation only event. It is covered by the press, especially by those writing in technology fields, but it is exclusive, looking to bring together people on the forefront of Internet innovation. The Expo is not exclusive, takes place over several days, and is open to the public for a charge.