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Web 2.0 is People! It's People!

Recently, I’ve talked and consulting with people who are introducing “Web 2.0” into their software stacks, thinking, projects, and technologies. If you’re technology-minded, it’s easy to look at Web 2.0 as REST, HTTP, XML, RSS, and whole lot of other things you have to hold the shift key down to type.

In the face of more complex technologies, this is welcome and I don’t want to discourage it all. The idea of having a simple “view” built on HTTP and stripped down XML on-top of otherwise “dark data” in enterprise software makes the developer in my salivate.

On the other hand, I’d hesitate to say that adding a POX-ish interface on-top of a software stack is all it takes to be “Web 2.0.” Much like every seachange wanna-be idea — Agile Software Development, SOA, client/server architecture, J2EE, etc. — much of what it is to be Web 2.0 involves making people do things differently.

Namely, it involves disintermediating anything (culture, technology, “laws,” or process) between two people or two groups of people trying to accomplish some goal. Put crudely, the idea is to actually throw up people as part of the system in the Marketecture rather than just inputers and consumers of that system.

It’s easy to go off the rails here and into the world of over-promised technology vision. It’s even easier to over-generalize yourself into a corner. The point is more simple and less grand than all of that: if you’re really going to be tacking “Web 2.0,” think first about what it means for the people who’ll be part of the system you’re building: how can your system, tack, or whatever benefit from people being more involved, sharing, and open?

Without people, you’ve just got easier to use technology. While that’s fantastic, it’s far from the whole picture when it comes to benefiting from Web 2.0-think.

Disclaimer: Sun is a client.

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Categories: Enterprise Software, Ideas, Marketing, Programming.

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10 Responses

  1. How to strip out half-a-web’s worth of hype in one blog title – nice work Cote!

    But I thought soylent green was people …

  2. Ric: thanks! I’m glad you liked the post 😉

Continuing the Discussion

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