Coté has a great post over on RedMonk. I’ve copied his title for this post, but the gist of what he has to say is “much of what it is to be Web 2.0 involves making people do things differently.” Amen Coté , amen!
What this means is that Web 2.0 isn’t just about adding the right buzzword-compliant technologies to you software. It means you actually have to consider changing how that software is going to interact with people. I like to substitute the world “collaborate” for Web 2.0. Some say that’s an oversimplification and that Web 2.0 is much more than that, but I wonder how true that is. If you succeed in creating software that gets people collaborating when they haven’t before, I think you’ve earned the Web 2.0 honorific. If your software fails to change how people do things, Coté says it isn’t Web 2.0, and I agree wholeheartedly.
Wikipedia is on board with the whole collaboration concept of Web 2.0 and adds sharing to that. I see sharing as a form of collaboration, so I’ll stick to my one word synonym.
When we accept that Web 2.0 is a duality involving both people and technology, a lot of interesting thoughts pop up. An obvious one is the SaaS duality of software and service. SaaS without the Service piece is not really SaaS. At best its hosted software which falls well short of the SaaS ideal and potential.
Because Web 2.0 is about collaboration and not just technology, it involves a lot of behavioural themes. Truth be told, there isn’t that much sophisticated technology in most Web 2.0 offerings. This behavioural focus is what’s led me to blog so much about the Web 2.0 Personality Space idea. It’s a behavioural view of one set of ingredients that influence an audience’s propensity to want to collaborate based on their learning style.
Behavioural factors begin to edge into collective behaviour and hence Malcolm Gladwell’s wonderful book, The Tipping Point. Persuasion is necessary mechanism for securing agreement to collaborate, hence Robert Cialdini’s excellent book, Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion also informs us, as do the teachings of modern marketers and business strategists.
Creating software against this behavioural backdrop is an interesting business. It began when the expressiveness of user interface moved beyond mere command prompts to embrace modern graphical user interfaces. There was much behavioural discussion surrounding such user interfaces. Web 2.0 makes the behavioural component even more essential for success, and in many cases, even harder to understand.
But why wouldn’t it be harder to understand: it’s about people. Thanks Coté!