Monday, 11 May 2009

The social web is coming of age

When Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web I doubt he imagined it would be hijacked by the world and his wife to relocate their store front. Thankfully 15 or so years on the internet's moving back to a place where people connect, share and chat, only this time it's got a prettier interface.

Forrester's Jeremiah Owyang recently defined what he sees as the 5 eras of social web with a belief that we will reach an era of full peer to peer social commerce as early as 2011.

Now in reality elements of this is happening already. Meebo for example's got IM under control, Facebook Connect's launch really looks like it's going to revolutionise open ID and indeed Business Week's assessment last week was that social networks will turn the portal model on it's head and become infused throughout the web and become entirely embedded rather than providing a destination point through which everything else flows.

Now I already buy an awful lot as a result of following or being followed on Twitter and I look forward to a time when via open ID I can take my social profile across the web and look for peer recommendation on all sites I visit. However, I also work with clients that simply aren't set up to offer this functionality or anywhere close in the next couple of years. Now many would say that these businesses will simply die, however while I have no doubt that a couple of the less agile corporates may go under, because they fail to adapt to new busines models I refuse to believe we are entering a completely new paradigm. This is a case where Bill Gate's technology innovation quote really stands up. I guess all we can do is wait and see.

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