“It would be difficult to find two popular buzzwords that are in more of a quagmire than social media and Web 2.0. The two terms are used, confused and abused on a regular basis.” – Andrew Beattie
Coined in 1999 by Darcy DiNucci, but popularized only in 2004 as a buzzword by Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty at the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 Conference, Web 2.0 is an umbrella term used to describe sites that allow people to create and share user-generated content and interact with each other; social media sites are an integral aspect of Web 2.0, but the two terms are not interchangeable.
Web 2.0 or “participatory web” describes sites where anyone can create, publish, and share their content globally through the internet. It follows its predecessor Web 1.0 and changed the landscape of the World-wide web from a read-only environment to an online community where people communicate, interact, share and exchange information online. Some examples include websites, blogs, articles, videos, and other user-generated content that require little or no technical expertise to set up or publish. Web 2.0 sites are the best channels to build online presence and increase page rank in the shortest amount of time.
Social media is one such networking and participatory channel that came about as an evolution of Web 2.0. Specifically dedicated to online networking and communication, the uniqueness of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, My Space lies in the fact that it allows web-based sharing with the click of a button. It is a new level of content curation and sharing.
Before the emergence of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google plus, there were things like emails, IMs (instant messaging), Yahoo Messenger, SMS, and video calls. The Web has evolved and expanded since then to include social networking sites, blogs, wikis, podcasting, online encyclopaedias, content hosting, online work-sharing platforms and other such.
The data shared through these sites may be public or private; public data like certain social media posts, microblogs, videos, and pictures (Instagram) can be accessed through web browsers and mobile devices thanks to APIs (application programming interfaces) running in the back-end.
Ultimately, while social media is an extension of Web 2.0, it would be incorrect to consider them as two sides of the same coin, since Web 2.0 also includes components like websites, blogs, articles, podcasts etc.