Thursday, 1 May 2008

Is web / enterprise 2.0 a bubble?

Anonymous commented on my post 'social connecting in business', suggesting that 2.0 is a bubble and that I should "pontificate new collaboration / interaction models in HR without bringing up web 2.0".

I don't think that 2.0 is a bubble, but I agree that other approaches are as important (possibly more so). I believe that if organisations see 'connecting' as the key issue, then this will guide their choices in technology and other areas, and avoid over-investment due to marketing hype.

I've been asking about this in Linkedin. Most people's answers seem to agree with both anonymous' and my own points, ie that 2.0 is largely hype, and that the key to avoid falling for this is to focus on connecting, on people rather than the technology:

"Jon, I think you are right about that concentrating on technology first is not the best approach. And I agree with Charles Caro that the whole concept of Web2.0 is just hype. The 2.0 should be applied to the people if you really want to apply it to anything. We maybe have better tools, but there is one constant, and that is the most important as I see: you talk, connect, communicate with people. And people are more or less the same as they were 10 or 20 years ago."

They also suggest that this will help businesses think more innovatively about the technology:

"I see a lot that businesses use Web2.0 technologies as a replacement for an existing tool - the blog replaces the newsletter for example. Again people are just using the innovation as a new delivery mechanism for fairly traditional content. The problem from an organisational perspective is that it is quite difficult for people to change both the 'what' and the 'how' of what they are doing. It can be tricky to get people to realise that completely new things are possible."

Some innovations will be successful, and others wont:

"With many more players involved there are more ideas on the table. Many will still be stupid, but some will be successful. Moreover, web effects will tend to be more and more similar to chaotic or ripple effects, with behavioural pattern that will dramatically affect success of business or technological solutions."

The key is to get involved and see what will work for you:

"Learning Web 2.0 (however you define it) is much like learning a new fundamental skill like bicycling or typing or email or spreadsheets. You can't be sure exactly how you will use it, but you can be sure it will be useful in all kinds of ways. It's pointless to try too hard to figure in advance how it will affect your business--that is unknowable. What you want to do is have loads of people learn the skill and the best uses will emerge."

The graph on this post is from the early contributions to my survey: this seems to contrast with the answers to my Linkedin question - so far people responding to the survey are a lot more bullish about the possibilities inherent in web / enterprise 2.0: 50% say that 2.0 is a revolutionary new opportunity for business that must be grasped with a sense of urgency.

What's your take?

And / or please add your comments here.

1 comment:

  1. I believe you touch upon a very important aspect of web 2.0
    Technology versus the people that use it.
    The technology used in web 2.0 is in many regards, quite simpel. The possibility for this development has been there all along, but the mindset of the users weren´t quite there.
    The important part of web 2.0 as I see it, is how the users have found a new way of expressing and connecting - we can´t stop it, we might as well embrace it and understand it.
    The computer-mediated-society has existed for a long time, the rest of the world just noticed recently.


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