Everywhere you turn these days there is another “social” something or other – social media, social networking, social bookmarking, social news, social web, etc. But what is all this “social” stuff about anyway?
I think that some people have focused on this social aspect of web 2.0 and missed out on the really radical and transformative features of the fully networked world it offers. Tim O’Reilly talked about this recently when he said:
“Web 2.0 is ultimately about understanding the rules of business in the network era. I define Web 2.0 as the design of systems that harness network effects to get better the more people use them, or more colloquially, as “harnessing collective intelligence.” This includes explicit network-enabled collaboration, to be sure, but it should encompass every way that people connected to a network create synergistic effects.”
Yes, the one of the network effects arising from use of web 2.0 technology is social, but this is a limited view of the phenomenon. It is from “harnessing collective intelligence” that the true power of the web 2.0 revolution arises.
Further, we have yet to really harness this revolution in the workplace. Enterprises remain largely untouched by web 2.0. What has happened up until now is a burgeoning of consumer web 2.0 sites (a.k.a. all that “social” stuff) that has readied people to accept the revolution in their personal use of technology.
The next step is to move this revolution into the enterprise. We’ve been talking about Enterprise 2.0 for a while now, and it is still developing.