Web 2.0 and the Enterprise

Alexander Wilms wrote an interesting post called The Trouble With Web 2.0 at Boxes and Arrows, to which Jon Lebkowsky wrote a lengthy response on the Social Web Strategies blog. Wilms is generally optimistic about the adoption of new online strategies in the enterprise, and where he sees barriers, Lebkowsky challenges those very effectively in his response.

Lebkowsky is right on when he writes,

The question is, how do you promote a different set of values within the corporate environment, so that cooperation is favored over competition, in at least some contexts? A company may lose valuable potential for innovation if leaders within the organization don’t work to support collaboration. Again, this is something we should at least be willing to consider.

It may not be comfortable, but I think it’s important that companies embarking on “Web 2” projects understand that it’s just as much about their corporate culture as it is about technology or what have you.

There’s another fundamental problem underlying Wilms’ article, though, which is the assumption in a lot of discussions on Web 2.0 and the enterprise that embarking on such projects is an OR not an AND proposition. There is nothing better for a company embarking on an an internal blogging project than an existing (underused, over-priced) KM system – and the reverse is true as well (x 10).

Shel Israel on Twitter

Late last week Shel Israel wrote an An Open Letter to the Twitter Guys. He’s right on, and his post stands in stark contrast to the chatter a couple of weeks ago that Twitter proves that the only important thing is to aggregate users – leaving aside a biz plan for later.

No one seems to care about mobile Twitter (which seems insane to me), but my 250/week limit was reached in the early evening today – Tuesday. The limit is simply a cost-cutting measure by a company bleeding money on every tweet. The problem for Twitter is that I can easily defect – everyone I get messages from (more or less) is on Facebook, and I can subscribe to their status updates on my mobile – half the time they come from Twitter anyhow.

Part of the problem may be that US companies are backed by US VC – and so they focus primarily on US adoption and usage. The social networking world in general makes that a very dangerous position to take – social network adoption rates are generally lower in the US than most other “rich” countries. A company that is primarily concerned with US results for a US exit will throw the rest of us under the bus pretty quickly.

Twitter is suddenly broken!

…And I’m not referring to the Macworld keynote failure they experienced.

Sometime in the last day or so, Twitter put in place a new policy that effectively breaks the service for everyone outside of the US. Details are available at this Twitter Support page.

Essentially, there’s now a limit of 250 twits via SMS per week. A lot of people don’t seem to care about Twitter via SMS – they call it simply “micro-blogging” whereas the mobile part of it – say, “mobile micro-blogging” has always been THE key distinction between Twitter and, say, a normal link blog or whatever. The mobile experience is at the very core of what Twitter is – so these limits are very much a problem.

The other thing is that the 250 limit is extremely low – I reached it at some point today and I only follow 37 people! I hope they reach a more acceptable resolution to whatever problem they were having with non-US carriers soon – any social networking application that is US-only is pretty much irrelevant.

Update: by the way I know that there has been a limit for a long time in places that don’t have a short code – what’s new is that even places that have a short code – and therefore an agreement with carriers – now have the same limits.

Another launch… Ride sharing 2.0

There was more auspicious startup news this week, this time from Ottawa, where a very talented group (partly made up of some long-term friends and former colleagues) has launched PickupPal. PickupPal is a really great idea, and I think represents a class of website/webapp that we’re going to see more and more of in coming months.

The idea is simple: it’s an online ride-sharing marketplace that uses the familiar socnet/Web2 techniques in pursuit of practical, real-world goals that go far beyond simply building and maintaining your social graph.

The other thing about PickupPal that is especially great is that ride-sharing by definition is environmentally friendly and can help people reduce their carbon footprint. We’re not all lucky enough to live in a city like (central) Montreal with world-class mass transit – and a practical, easy way to help get a few cars off the road is very timely.

Clicks and online advertising

This morning Danah Boyd published an interesting enquiry into online clickthrough advertising: Who clicks on ads? And what might this mean? on her blog, apophenia. The crux of the question stems from the fact that most “savvy” internet users routinely deny ever clicking on ads, and not just loosely-targeted banner ads but contextual text ads as well. The difficult paradox, then, may be that the population of “clickers” may be composed of groups that are well outside the target audience of the advertising, which would call the whole model into question. The most important fact in the piece, though, has to do with the question that there isn’t much data available to test any hypothesis in this area.

6A’s LiveJournal Sold!

John Battelle is reporting on his Searchblog that SixApart has sold LiveJournal to SUP, with whom they had entered into a partnership/localization agreement just over a year ago. I don’t know the details, but it makes sense for 6A to have cut LiveJournal loose – the journalling/social networking product doesn’t really fit into their blog-centric and increasingly enterprise-oriented strategy.

Here’s the press release from Six Apart.

Beacon and Privacy

Dare Obasanjo digs into the new advertising platform launched by Facebook: Facebook Beacon is Unfixable. I have enjoyed Facebook a great deal, but this kind of thing is pretty bad.

Adaptive Path,

the user experience agency, has always been in the “Web 2.0″ mix, and last week Brandon Schauer published an interesting article, “experience attributes: crucial dna of web 2.0“. It’s a pretty good piece, but I always wonder – what about the fact that there was a TON of very “Web 2.0″ stuff going on well before anyone actually wanted to live South of Market St.? The WELL? Very Web 2.0. The original HotWired? Very 2.0. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Steadman owns Plastic, which is clearly a proto-2.0 space. For almost everyone who was involved – professionally or not – in the WWW back then knows that Web 2.0 is really simply things getting back on the course we set 12-15 years ago.

I wonder why everyone seems to ignore this?

Several links pointed me

to Rough Type, a blog by Nicholas Carr in which you’ll find a good article about the new Web (aka Web 2.0), and in particular about Wikipedia: The amorality of Web 2.0. It’s mostly a good, if muddled, piece, and in the comments you can see the (many) extremes of reaction there are to any criticism of Wikipedia.

I like Wikipedia a lot and think that in general it’s pretty good – but that the standard must be higher than that. As such, then it should neither be considered a wholesale success or failure.

Rafe Colburn:

Flickr and your wine collection. Take a snap of the label and comment on wines that you drink to jog your memory later.