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Stages of the Web

The “Stages of the Web” is a proposed method of dividing the World Wide Web's history into the categories: Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0 for the blindly optimistic. However, it could easily be argued that the entire concept is arbitrary and just an early tech industry buzzword.

Established stages

Web 1.0

Web 1.0” describes the internet during the 1990s and early 2000s, consisting of personal web pages that typically borrowed a free hosting service. This era is characterized by static pages, frames, hit counters, guestbooks, the use of blink or marquee tags, mailto links or forms, buttons or stamps, and small files that most people with slow dial-up internet speeds could easily retrieve.

Such websites were typically hosted on services like GeoCities, Tripod, or Freewebs, including the famous Hampster Dance web page. People were also free to leave the computer, as the technology to tether them to the internet didn't exist yet. Some people even romanticize the “Web 1.0” aesthetic to the point of creating a little website for themselves on Neocities, which can be fun.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0” describes the internet that had developed in the 2000s, consisting of websites which grant users the ability to collaborate, contribute, categorize, and comment without having to write a letter. This era is characterized by collaborative wikis, media sharing, microblogging (i.e. status updates), social networking services, and the rise of portable technology which has helped tether people to the internet.

These abilities would allow websites to prop themselves up as a “one-stop shop” and, unlike the haphazard spread of niche chatrooms and forums, they could now centralize activities and strategically reinforce their positions by sending notifications to the tether. This is how websites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Discord turn into household names that need no further introduction.

In other words, the internet had underwent a monopolization process. Most alternative websites that thinks about competing with the status quo often fall into the trap of cutting corners,1) unless the owner gets into immense debt and pray that it becomes successful enough that some fool buys it and inevitably brings us back into the whole cycle of enshittification because they've always operated at a net loss.

Theoretical stages

Web 3.0

Web 3.0” describes a theoretical stage where machines start reading and processing data on the internet, better described as “artificial intelligence” according to Big Tech. However, from a critical standpoint, it sounds like an evolved, marketable spyware, raising ethical concerns on whether said machines have the capacity to respect copyright, privacy, or someone's job status.


Web3” describes a theoretical stage where the internet would somehow become even more decentralized, using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, though it's unclear how this process would even happen. Most people have already dismissed it as an empty marketing buzzword since it boils down to “people will use crypto (for real this time)”, which is why companies quickly pivoted to the other “Web 3.0” instead.

Most of these alternative websites tend to be undercooked and leave bad first impressions, whether it be from lacking vital features (e.g. media support, messaging system, mobile support) or immense technical issues (e.g. ill-timed maintenance, unresponsive servers). As a result, there is usually an air of cynicism when alternatives to certain platforms are discussed, which may be the intended effect.
stages_of_the_web.txt · Last modified: 2024-05-19 03:09:03 by namelessrumia