People shaping the Web

So who’s making the biggest impact online? We considered hundreds of the Web’s most noteworthy power brokers, bloggers, brainiacs, and entrepreneurs to figure out whose contributions are shaping the way we use the Web. We whittled the list down to the top 50–well, actually the top 62–people, but as you’ll see, there are some you just can’t separate.

PC World has published its 50 most important people on the Web. Representatives from all three waves of the Web are included. It serves as a useful whos-who within the revolution, counter-revolution and evolution of the Web.

The first wave was the era from 1995 to 2000. A top-down, commercially driven revolution which was for the most part supply driven. While deemed by many a failure it forever challenged us to rethink how we perceive organizations and their role within our world around us. Players such as Amazon, Ebay and Yahoo are the poster children of the first wave.

The second wave is the Social Networks era which we are currently living through. This bottom-up, grassroots driven counter-revolution is what happens when the demand side starts supplying itself as described in Cluetrain. It is a period of great disruption and experimentation with proof-of-concepts emerging. Google, MySpace, Skype and Wikipedia are the poster children of this wave.

The third wave is the Living Web which represents the evolution of the Web. Unbeknownst to many it is already here. This middle space is where lessons learned from the first and second waves are being remixed, reused and recycled to co-create hybrids which are harnessing emergent technologies to enable the evolution of the Web into the Living Web.

Second Life is an early first-mover within this space. Time will tell whether it becomes a first-prover poster child of this wave. William Gibson put it best when he declared the future is already here, it is just not evenly distributed yet. Interesting times indeed.