For the webs2, please follow the crowd

Posted on January 19, 2009

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The last talk I gave – in December 2008 – was at Online Information and titled “What does Web2.0 DO for us?”.

Here are the slides (my third slide deck to get “homepaged” on slideshare…yay…):

This one was attempting to focus on Web2.0 in the Enterprise. Frankly, “The Enterprise” is a subject which fills me with fear, dread and trepidation, but the movement of Web2.0 into that space is probably inevitable as sales teams around the world spot another opportunity and sell it out to cash-rich bods wanting to “be innovative” in the name of their behemoth of a company. It’ll be interesting to watch.

The talk was popular, which I’m pleased about. Online Information is a funny old conference – the halls are stacked with basically the same company replicated about 200 times: reasonably bad CMS systems with reasonably bad sales people trying to sell to a reasonably badly informed market of people. I sound over-rude, but I have to be honest – I last went in about 2003 and absolutely nothing has changed. Which can’t be good in the tech field, right?

My slides were supposed to be about one thing (why the social web is important in “The Enterprise”, and why “The Enterprise” should take it seriously) – in the end, I actually focused on why “web2” is important to people rather than as a “thing” in abstract. I see the connecting of people with other people as reason for believing in the social web as a sound platform upon which to build any content. I believe this engagement is key to bringing (heritage) content to the foreground; furthermore, I think that even though web2.0 has been hyped to death, we should continue to believe in what “the social web” means. Mainly, we should believe this because the social web is about people and connections and as such has enormous importance to us as social, connected animals. 

One of the problems with talking about “Web2.0” is that the phrase carries an implicit weight with it: as soon as there is a count attached, you’re naturally looking for the current one to expire – for “Web2” to be replaced by “Web3” and shortly after that, “Web4”. Useful though “Web2.0” is as a phrase, I’m with the commentators now who suggest we talk about “the web”, or – my preference – “the social web”. Not because it is any less important, but because it is more so.

Incidentally, earlier today I was researching some stuff for a keynote I’m due to give in The Hague later in February (more details soon…) and used Google Trends to check on the phrase “web2.0”. It’s interesting to note that it reached its peak during q4 2007, and has since dropped off in popularity: 

 

Web2.0 on Google Trends

You’ll see immediately that this follows the Gartner Hype Curve prediction (or at least the beginning of it) – it’ll be interesting to watch in the coming months and years how the curve settles into a dampened “plateau of productivity”. (I’d also be interested if anyone can figure out why there is a gap between 2004 when O’Reilly first mentioned the phrase and mid-2005…)

For the graph junkies, here’s the same period for the phrase “social web”:

 

"Social Web" on Google Trends

So. That’s the hype. Maybe now we can get on with producing some astonishing, user-focused content..

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