Web 2.0 (aka Web2) and Web 3.0 (also called Web3) are improved versions of the first Web 1.0 model from the 1990s and early 2000s. The current Internet generation, Web 2.0, has experienced exponential growth driven by smartphones, mobile internet access, and social networks. In fact, we are already at the next generation, Web 3.0.
A decentralized, open, transparent, and much more powerful concept, Web3 is marked by security. For example, Web 3.0 ends constant validation of trust and permission. Advanced capabilities like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), connectivity, and ubiquity are integral aspects of Web 3.0.
Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 communities have the same intrinsic values. Yet, Web3 communities stand out in terms of their synergy. To understand this further let's first take look at Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 for the differences between them and their respective community models.
What is Web 2.0 and Web 3.0
Web 2.0 dates back to 2006 and is still in widespread use globally. Web 2.0 revolutionized the Web and related industries by making it easy for users to create, collect, store, and share massive amounts of content over global networks. It has given birth to diverse platforms like blogs, podcasts, video-streaming apps, and social media networks.
Today, we are fast transitioning into the latest internet generation, Web 3.0. The World Wide Web’s inventor Tim Berners Lee initially christened Web 3.0 as 'the Semantic Web.' Powered by cutting-edge software programs such as AI and ML, Web3 provides users with a reliable, data-driven UI. It will help them use the power of blockchain technology (forecasts show that spending on blockchain solutions will reach almost USD 19 billion by 2024), metaverse (a March 2022 survey of companies that had invested in the metaverse stated that seven in ten of responding businesses expect a metaverse boom in the next five years), the Semantic Web, and more.
Web3 beats Web2 hands down on many fronts, primarily due to its decentralized structure. This model enables users to own their content with complete control over its usage over the Internet. However, jumping headlong into Web 3.0 right away may be challenging.
To create a Web3 project, the creator should first test their idea using a specific audience sample. For instance, companies and startups, especially those that need to be more tech-savvy, should take well-calculated, graduated steps toward Web 3.0.
Web 2.0 vs. Web 3.0 - Similarities and Dissimilarities
Similarities pop up when we examine the differences between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0. This is natural, since Web 3.0 is an improvement over Web 2.0 that drops the limitations and flaws of the latter.
Ownership: As it takes complete control of information storage and access, the Web2 network raises concerns about anonymity, privacy, and security of users' online data. Web3 mitigates these risks by allowing data exchange across multiple locations simultaneously.
Applications: Web 2.0 includes podcasts, blogs, RSS feeds, audios, videos, and social bookmarking. On the other hand, Web 3.0 uses AI- and ML-powered apps, virtual worlds, and 3D portals to offer enhanced user experiences.
Speed: Web2 transfers data faster than Web3. This is because Web 2.0 needs to scan a specific space to retrieve information, which is generally stored on a single server. Due to Web3’s decentralized nature, it accesses data by searching areas with user owners. This might lead to performance compromises.
Currency: On Web2, government-issued currencies, such as USD, are used for financial transactions. Web3 lets people use highly secure, encrypted digital currencies called cryptocurrencies.
Privacy: A Web2 community can often compromise your and your community's privacy, which raises security concerns. In Web 3, privacy built into several protocols and networks as the foundation is non-negotiable. This is the cornerstone of a community's success.
How Web2 and Web3 Communities are Different
In Web 2.0, online communities are built on websites and social media networks. We harness the power of group chat and the likes of Instagram and Twitter to showcase our capabilities. It helps us share how we create and deliver value. Yet, our privacy and security can be at risk as the Internet becomes less friendlier to privacy requirements.
Community building follows the same basic principles in Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 — onboarding, engagement, and retention. However, we will see many innovations around members' onboarding in Web3 community building.
In the Web 2.0 regime, a select few own and control the internet. Corporations and governments wield enormous power and control over what we see, experience, and do online.
Web2 communities are created and grown around a product rather than an organic network of like-minded people passionate about contributing to long-term goals. The central authority or organization does not share value with community creators and users. It extracts value created by them.
Web3 community building, on the other hand, is based on a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) — a community-led, fully autonomous, and transparent entity with no central authority. Community members govern this model. They make collective decisions about every project.
In Web 3.0 communities, the value comes from members' interactions, experiences, stories, and relationships. It is all about embracing a distributed community—one committed to creating more significant opportunities for all participants of the Web3 economy.
Web3 and Web2's community-building angle
The term “community” in the structured world of the blockchain may sound like an oxymoron. In Web3, the community is well-connected to the blockchain, a decentralized public ledger. This independently run ledger records transactions over a completely open and transparent network.
Based on shared interests, goals, and consensus, Web 3's decentralized structure empowers users to have complete control over their data, creations, and money.
Web3 scores over Web2 in terms of community benefits. These include:
A consumer-first movement: Web 3.0's USP is its consumer-first focus, which differs significantly from Web 2.0's business-first model. Web3 centers around consumers' rights, with its emphasis on data, privacy, experience, and utility.
Democratic, secure environment: Web3's decentralized internet environment is open, transparent, secure, and democratic. It promises to deliver on the original promise of dropping the intermediary, in its quest to bring value for users.
Decentralization value: Principles of decentralization which underlie the Web 3.0 model, are all about an open, fair Internet. This concept gives users greater control and ownership over their data and online activities.
Power to users: The key aim of Web3, which allows trustless interactions on a decentralized network, is to bring the decision-making power and control enjoyed by real-world communities back to users in the virtual world. This is a distinct shift from Web2's corporate and governmental dominance.
Mutual ownership: While the Web2 space helps influencers, paid sponsorships, and millions of followers to make an impact, Web3 is about community-driven projects. Here, people respect and value what a person does in order to be of mutual benefit.
Audience ownership: If your Web 2.0 community network with its massive follower base vanishes, so does your following! This is not the case with Web3. Here, project ownership, control, and operation lie with creators like you and the community that backs them. A single entity has no say.
Creative opportunities: Through its feedback, a Web3 community contributes to the project's decision-making. Users are free to express themselves and share their ideas. As a result, they often produce things that are beyond a single individual’s capabilities.
Immersive experiences: Web3 delivers decentralization of data and peer-to-peer communication with more immersive experiences.
Novel transaction methods: Web3 enables new types of more secure online transactions. These include decentralized exchanges (DEX is a peer-to-peer marketplace where users trade cryptocurrencies), smart contracts, decentralized apps, and more.
Taking the call
Growing adoption of blockchain across apps and sites is driving the evolution of Web 3.0 — essentially an improvement of the Web2 concept, but minus its flaws. Web3 wins over Web2 on many counts.
Web 3.0’s decentralized environment lets users own their content and wield greater control over how they use it and the web. Despite such advantages, it may be advisable to wait before you take the plunge into Web3.
Irrespective of whether you do take the Web 3.0 plunge, or decide to ramp up your community’s existing capabilities, solutions like AtomChat prove handy. A scalable and affordable app packed with many powerful features, AtomChat helps you build an efficient online community. It helps you treat your community members to rich, immersive engagement experiences. The power of AtomChat’s multilingual integration-driven group chat and HD audio-video calling feature makes it all super-easy.