Lesson 4: An Introduction to Web 2.0
Goals of lesson: This lesson will familiarize users with the concept of Web 2.0 and some of its
• Recognise the characteristics of Web 2.0
• Get an introduction to Web 2.0 services
A. What is Web 2.0?
Web 2.0 is a term for a new way of using the World Wide Web. It used to be that the Internet was
used by individuals, companies, governments, or other organizations to publish information on
websites. These sites would then be visited by users who would read what the author had to say.
This pattern, using the Internet to retrieve data published by a few, is now called “Web 1.0” usage.
Today the focus of the internet is shifting towards collaboration. Web 2.0 applications are those
that promote user created content. Major examples are blogs, wikis, and social networking sites.
Task: Please turn on the PC now and open the Web Browser.
On of the most important resources available in the world today, Wikipedia is a great example of
the power of Web 2.0 collaboration. A wiki, as will be seen later, is a website that allows users to
edit its content, and Wikipedia applies this concept in an online encyclopaedia.
Anyone is allowed to edit the articles and add knowledge to its online database. The benefit of this
is that if someone knows something, there is probably a Wikipedia article about it. There is likely no
single source which holds more knowledge on this planet. On the downside, however, the fact that
anyone can edit it leaves the encyclopaedia open to vandalism, where unscrupulous individuals edit
articles to spread lies and rumours. In order to combat this Wikipedia has teams of editors who look
through articles and post warnings where they think information might be biased or inaccurate, but
ultimately it is up to the reader to exercise caution.
With that caveat, however, Wikipedia is an excellent tool. If you want a question answered, this is a
great first place to look. In fact, many Google searches yield Wikipedia as one of the first few
results. The English language homepage of Wikipedia is <en.wikipedia.org> and has windows for
featured articles and news stories. On the left side of the screen a search bar can be used to find
articles of interest.
One important feature of these articles is they are filled with internal links; most terms that are not
in common usage are directly linked to their own article. For example, if reading the above article
about blue whales, if you do not know what a “baleen” whale is, simply click the link and a whole
new article will open up explaining the difference between toothed and baleen whales.
Additionally, at the bottom of many articles is a section listing related articles that may be of
Practical exercise: Go to the English language Wikipedia homepage <en.wikipedia.org> and
search through some topics of interest for 15 minutes.
C. Blogs and Social Networking
The word “blog” is a combination of the words “web log” and has seen a lot of usage in recent
years. Basically, a blog is a person’s online journal where short stories and articles can be published
and accessed by others. News outlets, individual journalists, politicians, and celebrities frequently
have their own blogs to keep their followers posted on news and events.
Blogging is not limited to famous people and large organizations and many regular people have
their own blogs. There are many tools available which allow people to create their own blogs, for
example Blogger <www.blogger.com> a popular choice. The BOSCO Wiki can also be used to create
your own blog, as will be shown later.
Social networking sites are some of the most important Web 2.0 applications. These are sites that
encourage the building of communities and interaction amongst friends over the Internet. One
popular example is Facebook <www.facebook.com> which offers a suite of tools to communicate
with friends including private, instant, and public messages, photo sharing, and other options.
Twitter <www.twitter.com> has also become insanely popular as of 2009. A micro‐blogging site,
Twitter allows individuals to post what they are doing or thinking in 140 character messages called
“tweets.” Even the President of the United States has a Twitter account. One other popular online
application is Flickr <www.flickr.com>, a photo sharing site that allows users to post pictures they
have taken for the world to see.
D. BOSCO‐Uganda Wiki
As mentioned earlier, a wiki is a special kind of website. It is made up of several internal pages
which all link together. The special thing about a wiki is that any member can edit any existing page
or create a new page. This allows users to work together to create and edit content. The BOSCO‐
Uganda Wiki bosco‐uganda.wikispaces.com is a place online where all members of the BOSCO
community can contribute and share information.
Task: Go to the BOSCO Wiki www.bosco-uganda.wikispaces.com
Notice that the BOSCO Wiki home page consists of a grey frame wrapping around the top and left,
surrounding a main page with a white background. This frame will always be there when navigating
the BOSCO Wiki and provides a convenient means of navigating. At the top right of the window are
options. If you are not logged in as a member you will see links to “join” and “sign in” which we will
cover in more detail later.
At the top of the page you will see a star followed by the name of the page you are currently
viewing. On the left hand side is a list of pages for navigation. These provide links to the different
BOSCO sites which can be explored. Remember that all of the content on each page was created by
people at that site.
BOSCO users have used the wiki to share all sorts of information. It is important to remember that
these are real web pages which anyone in the world with an Internet connection can view. All of
the stories, pictures, poems, and articles posted are forms of communication with the rest of the
world. Right now you can only read what other people have published online, but soon you too,
after registering and requesting membership, will be able to add content and share what is on your
Practical exercise: Use the links on the left to see what some other wiki users have posted.
E. Signing Up for the BOSCO Wiki
Once you sign up for the BOSCO Uganda Wiki you will be able to edit and create content. Right now
there should be a “Protected” button at the top that cannot be clicked. Once you become a
member this will change to an “Edit” button, allowing you to collaborate with the rest of the users.
Note that in order to sign up you must have an email address. If you do not, see Lesson 2 for details
on signing up for one.
To use the wiki, you must first sign up for Wikispaces, the service that hosts the BOSCO Uganda
Wiki. In the top right of the BOSCO Wiki window is a “Join” link. Clicking it will take you to a
First pick a username. This is a name you will use to log in that will appear when you edit the wiki. It
must be unique to Wikispaces but should also be memorable. It is often a good idea to use the
same username as your email account, i.e. whatever comes to the left of the @ sign. Next, you
must choose a password. Just as with email your password should be hard to guess but you must
remember it in order to log in later. It is often wise to write it down someplace safe so you do not
forget it. You may use the same password here as you did for your email account. In the third box
enter your email address. Finally, select “no” for option four, since you want to join the BOSCO Wiki
instead of creating your own. Once this has been completed, click the “join” button to sign up.
Once you have successfully signed up for a Wikispaces account you will be taken to back to the
BOSCO Wiki homepage with a message at the top informing you that you are now a member of
Wikispaces. Now you can click the join link in the top left to request to become a member of the
BOSCO Uganda Wiki.
This will bring up a prompt asking you to leave a comment before requesting membership. In order
to keep the BOSCO Wiki reserved for our community you must be approved by one of our staff
members listed as a wiki organizer. Type in a brief message, perhaps including your name and whet
site you are using so the staff knows you are a member of our program. When finished, click
“Request Membership” and an e-mail will be sent to all of the organizers with whatever message you
enter in the box. There are several organizers who will quickly add most requests, but it may take up
to a couple of days before your membership is confirmed.