Monday 28 April 2008

Social networking vs. web 2.0

Although these terms are often used imprecisely and interchangeably (with each other, and with other terms such as social media and social software), I believe 'social networking' and 'web 2.0' do refer to different things.

The way I separate the two is by explaining that:

social networking focuses on connecting people to each other, whereas

other web 2.0 applications focus on connecting people with the content that has been generated by other people.

So I might connect to someone via Linkedin and then subscribe to his or her blog to access the content this person has generated. (Of course, it is not quite as simple as this, as I may often subscribe to a person’s blog because I value them and their thinking, not just because of what they are currently writing about – in many ways I am in fact subscribing to the person, not just their content.)

So the points in my previous post about connecting apply in particular to social networking. In many ways, social networking is only a technology enabled way of doing what good networkers have always done, but this can now be done by many more people, and on a much broader scale.

See also my previous posts:

Social connecting in business
HR 2.0 survey.

Take my 'Social connecting in business' survey here.


  1. Jon, agreed. However I believe that Social Networking would also be an outcome of Web 2.0, because Web 2.0 would give the tools and opportunities for Social Networking to really explode. What do you feel ?
    I had written about it here

  2. Hi Amit,

    Yes, agree. Ths is part of "not being as simple as that". Uptake of web 2.0 will influence social networking and vice versa.

    I guess my concern is more with social networking as my key interest is actually social capital (eg relationships between people) vs organisational capital (which wil include the content created as a result of these connections / relationships)

  3. 2.0 is the read-write web. We, the reader, write the content. You are the user re: blogspot.

    A feature of 2.0 is that it is free to the consumer.

    The reason for allowing us to dump for free is so they can use the info and in particular links between the our data.

    I would distinguish the likes of Facebook from Google just by the intent of the user. They all rely on the the same idea - the capacity to trawl through the data set and our willingness to give google and co our data.

    Hope that helps.

    PS is the best 2.0 catalogue that I have found. Some are apps are not free to user but it is always a good place to start looking.

    Just seen your own comment - I suspect the content is quite ephemeral. It is the capacity to use it for action that is interesting.


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