Friday, 15 August 2008

A business view of Web 2 / social networking

Bibliothekia is of course focused on, and interested in, how technology impacts on 21st century libraries; but it is always interesting to see how business sees Web 2.0 / social networking. After all, it is the business side of the internet, and the monetization of the internet, which drives a lot (but not all) of the technology and the applications libraries end up using. This is not to suggest that libraries don't do development. One of the exciting things about the whole open source movement is that libraries may be able to do much more development.

Anyway, thinking about how business sees Web 2.0, I was interested in the following image. This appeared on a Web 2.0 boot camp (sounds scary) web site for executives in the USA. The focus is of course building market share and profitability (two very different things). Here is a quote from the site: Use Web 2.0 techniques to surpass your competitors in establishing market leadership will be essential for success while reaching out to the 1.1 billion potential customers online. I have my own views on the sense of implying that a billion people is one homogeneous audience, see my previous post (Web 2.0 makeover for library portals), but that's another story. Mind you, the following image does acknowledge the long tail. What is particularly strange about this image (impressive though it is) is the fact that users are not in the Internet cloud. Am I missing something here? Isn't the whole point of Web 2.0 to allow participation, sharing, and leveraging functionality from within the cloud? In this image, the Web 2.0 enterprise stands between the users and the Internet. This would make sense if the enterprise was a telco / ISP. Anyway, lets hope today's business leaders get Web 2.0 and fund developments that libraries can use.

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