The biggest mistake most of the tech press, Web 2.0 boosters, cyber pundits, and digital hipsters make is to confuse Web 2.0 products with the root changes that made them happen. Social networking, crowd-sourced content, blogs, and the like are the result of an ongoing mind shift that's been happening for the past couple of years.

Web 2.0 is real, but it's not something you can define by tossing out examples or buzzwords. It's not something we can only know when we see it. Slate's Paul Boutin makes a good point when he declares, "The new Internet boom doesn't live up to its name." But he's right for the wrong reasons. Problem is, buzzwords are overshadowing the real, important changes going on.

So what is Web 2.0? Here are six elements that define the change in how we all think about and use the Web.

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