26 August 2009

Trying to make sense of web2.0

As you either know or could have guessed, I am an active user of lots of software that comes under the broad labels of web2.0 or social computing. Apart from this blog, there is twitter, facebook, youtube, linkedin, slideshare, myspace, scribd, technorati, mybloglog, wikipedia, bloglines, last.fm, yahoo groups, etc. etc.

I use each of these for a purpose but when friends ask me what this is or to explain why I use one tool for one thing rather than an other then I sometimes find it hard to articulate what this purpose is.

And if I cannot articulate the purpose for each tool then how can I know that I am not duplicating a service (e.g. photo sharing) or that I am using the full range of tools that I need?

The following diagram, which is work in progress, is an attempt to do this.

They key concept, or hypothesis, is that the two factors are the content that is being shared (both it's richness and its volume) and the degree of collaboration there is in producing that content.

For example, this blog has text and images so the content is reasonably rich but the only collaboration is the opportunity to post comments. In contrast, Twitter supports a high degree of interaction (through replies, retweets, etc.) but the content is limited to 140 characters.

I am hoping that once completed this map will help me to understand which tools I need and why and so enable me to make better use of web2.0 myself and to provide better advise to others. Wish me luck!

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