Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Web 3.0: How long till in comes together!

This post is mostly opinion.. there is a bit of data, but it is mainly my view on the social networking buzz. It may be a little non-typical, and may challenge you some if you believe Twitter and delicious are promise land. Regardless, I should say up front that I love these technologies.. all of Web 2.0.. just call me high maintenance...

Kevin Gamble ponders the adoption of Web 2.0 and reflects back on previous innovations of the Internet in his recent post "Pew: The other 41%." I found the following to be insightful from his post...

"Back in 1993 you could show someone Mosaic and they could immediately understand that the world as they had experienced it was fixing to change big-time. That almost never happens with Web 2.0 tools. Most of the time you get a response like John Dorner received last week, "I was trying to explain Twitter to my wife - she looks at me like I've lost my mind." I've noticed that same reaction more than once over the last few years.

Adoption of these new tools takes longer. I know I used for months before I finally started using it religiously. I also know, that my use of it increased dramatically once my closest group of colleagues all started to use it. It wasn't until we had workgroup adoption that its true power kicked-in to play."

While I agree totally with Kevin's belief that these tools take longer and require workgroup adoption, I could argue the same was true of FTP Servers.. You need a critical mass of documents, valued knowledge so to speak. You needed a grasp of a set of commands and patience to face your typos. In fact, when we were using FTP, boy could not say enough great things about it.. it was going to change the world.. and we could not figure out why everyone was whining so much about learning a couple of commands.. Then came . Mosaic! Seemless.. smooth.. and it danced.. it made things where anyone could do it...., Digg, Twiter, Analytics, etc.. getting it all setup and encouraging a community (non-technology) to join you can be overwhelming. I continue to play with these technologies for two purposes.. leadership and organizational development uses. I see the potential, but I believe there is strong evidence that we are not close to moving these technologies past the IT world...

Consider the following:

  • The Top 4 blogs on Technorati (based on links) are all technology blogs. (when is the last time the front page of your newspaper carried a technology article?)
  • Out of the top 10, 6 are technology oriented, 3 are political, and one is anomymous photo/card sharing site. Not one of these sites is what I would call a non-technology knowledge source. Oh they are interesting, but they are not mainstream learning communities (except for IT).
  • Disciplinary non-tech groups are not dominating Web 2.0. For example, the highest rated marketing blog (Seth's Blog by ) is way down on the Technorati list.
  • Tom Peters' blog is rated a lowly 1512 by Technorati.. and Tom.. well lets just say he makes a fine living on keynotes.. so why isn't his blog more popular. Web 2.0 popularity is not uniformly connected to what the non tech world measures as success.
  • If you dig down, you can find good blogs in lots of disciplinary communities, but I would estimate that they are a long way from what Kevin would call workgroup adoption.

So if our ultimate goal is workgroup adoption and effectiveness, the question remains.. do we increasd performance through training or through technology advancement. Right now, I have high hopes for technology advancement... I see movement toward intergration with firefox that gives me hope, but I still think much more advancement is needed. Truthfully, calling it Web 2.0 doesn't make it the next generation of web technology, but to be a conformist.. I will just say I am begging for Web 3.0... I need the "Mosaic" for social networking... a tool that does for social networking what Mosaic did for information access.... Makes it seemless, makes it so smooth, that asking someone to join you on Twitter is a one click.. and that will take intergration.. at a level we have not seen so far..

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