Web 2.0

The term "Web 2.0" is derived from a naming convention in software, where upgrades that are released in the market get numbered (like Verstion 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 etc). This seems to suggest that the software of the internet has been upgraded, which isn't entirely correct. However, the term is still useful if you look at it as a massive shift in the way the web is being used. Essentially, "Web 2.0", refers to the functionality built into websites that allows people to more easily put their own information on them, to share it with others, and collaborate with them. These websites, then, shift from being simply "websites", to being tools or "applications".

The next "version" of the web (likely to be dubbed "Web 3.0) will allow these websites to integrate with each other even more effectively and naturally - so, for example, you will be able to incorporate many of the sites you regularly visit into one website, which also synchronizes your information, friends and updates so you don't have to repeat yourself all over the place!

Social Media

Social Media, simply put, is a form of media created by people who post information (be that pictures, articles, videos, comments or votes) using Web 2.0 applications (such as blogs etc.). It is primarily driven by Amateurs, although big media companies have started integrating social media into their traditional offering too. This is part of what makes social-media special: it can incorporate other forms of media, increase it's reach into niche communities of interest that are inter-connected on social-media platforms, and enhance it's impact and effect by allowing interaction. So in social-media, the audience can become collaborators.

For this reason, the flow and process of creating Social-Media is often likened to a Conversation, which happens even if no-one actually speaks directly to any person in particular! Social Media depends on interactions between people as the discussion and integration of words, images, and sounds around a multitude of subjects and feelings builds shared-meaning around topics and experiences. For example, if a number of people who attend the same event post their own pictures, blog posts, and videos of it online, then by looking at the array of media around this event anyone will have a better understanding of it than if they just read one newspaper report on it.

Social Computing

Social computing a broader term, which incorporates Social Media. It refers specifically to the "sense-making" effect of all the interactions that are carried out by groups of people online. This is an idea that has been popularized in James Surowiecki's book, The Wisdom of Crowds. Examples of social computing in this sense include collaborative filtering(such as on Muti.co.za), online auctions, prediction markets, reputation systems, computational social choice, tagging, and verification games (A great example is Google's Image Labeler game).

A paper on Social Computing by market research company Forrester Research states:
Easy connections brought about by cheap devices, modular content, and shared computing resources are having a profound impact on our global economy and social structure. Individuals increasingly take cues from one another rather than from institutional sources like corporations, media outlets, religions, and political bodies. To thrive in an era of Social Computing, companies must abandon top-down management and communication tactics, weave communities into their products and services, use employees and partners as marketers, and become part of a living fabric of brand loyalists.

Although these applications are easy to engage with and use, they can be potentially destructive, and costly to organizations and individuals who don't have a strategy and an understanding about what they hope to achieve by engaging with other people on the web in this way.

The term "Social Computing" is often used interchangeably with the term "Web 2.0", although as the Forrester report points out:
Web 2.0 is about specific technologies (blogs, podcasts, wikis, etc) that are relatively easy to adopt and master. Social Computing is about the new relationships and power structures that will result. Think of it another way: Web 2.0 is the building of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s; Social Computing is everything that resulted next (for better or worse): suburban sprawl, energy dependency, efficient commerce, Americans’ lust for cheap and easy travel.

The following short video, produced by Prof. Michael Wesch as part of the Digital Ethnography working group at Kansas University, demonstrates these concepts well:

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AuthorDave Duarte
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Amazing Marketing MachineThe clever chaps at Springleap have come up with another killer idea to engage SA bloggers and drive lots of signups to their new site. It's called Blogger Warz, where each month two prominent SA bloggers are pitted against each other to get the most votes for their t-shirt designs.

I'm up against Mike Stopforth (with his design called "Fit-Shan") in the first round. The design I submitted was done my my talented illustrator friend, Ryno Van Niekerk. It's called "The Amazing Marketing Machine".

The story that goes with the design is as follows:

A mashup of potent technological innovations, The Amazing Marketing Machine will help any marketer be more intelligent, more playful, more out-of-this world! But if you didn’t know that you might just think it was a pile of junk. Ironic huh?

If you dig it, please go and vote it up on Springleap HERE (note, you need to register). Some lucky people might even get the opportunity to wear this awesome design if we win.
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AuthorDave Duarte
Today is my second day back in the lab after three weeks of back-to-back online marketing and strategy workshops, lectures and conferences. The recurrent theme in all of them was the idea of authentic co-creation. Quite obviously the most important shift that is happening in marketing and strategy is a move away from centralized control of communications to a more decentralized user-oriented approach.

At the iCommons Innovation Series last week in Joburg, Jimmy Wales stated that any business that was dependent on people not copying its products or services was doomed, whereas those that embrace the culture of sharing, and that build in systems to facilitate and benefit from sharing would thrive. This is most obvious in the music industry, where even Madonna has left her old record label which was dependent on DRM and record sales and moved to a label that prioritizes alternative revenue streams such as her brand, her live performance revenues, and merchandising.

In the Attention Economy, having the goodwill of a community can make you rich, and power comes as your ideas, products and services circulate through that community. In this new economy, participation is key, since it is the highest form of Attention that a person can give. It must be pointed out though, that simply creating a platform for participation (such as a Wiki or a video-channel) is not enough to get people involved. You need to help them connect with people that have shared interests.

How do you think Wikipedia maintains the level of quality participation it has? The answer is that behind each article there are little communities of people who are connecting with each other through a shared interest in the subject matter they are compiling - each contribution, discussion and edit is a form of social currency that can escalate their status in the community. People blog for much the same reason. So perhaps the human need for recognition and connection is really the driver of the new web economy.

My advice is to do whatever you can to help reduce people's sense of separation from each other and your brand. As a participant in one of last-week's workshops pointed out: A relationship is an ongoing conversation. So I leave you with a question to consider: How will you start facilitating ongoing conversations through your company, with your company, and through your products, services, portals and communications?
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AuthorDave Duarte
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BizCommunity and Brainstorm recently came up with a super-funky advertising and fund-raising idea called "the Stripathong". It's a weekly cartoon done about a designer called D.T. Pete, and is drawn by a different cartoonist every week.

The idea is that different people or agencies book their week to do the cartoon, pay a minimum donation of R1000 and use it as a show case to demonstrate their prowess as creative thinkers.

Ryno Van Niekerk, a brilliant illustrator who I happen to share an office with submitted his strip below on behalf of Kreatif. I think it's classic. You'll get it if you're a Mac user:

Ryno's Stripathong Entry

Click HERE to enlarge.
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AuthorDave Duarte
Late lastnite I made a status update on Twitter saying that I was looking to name a new business venture*. It was an arbitrary musing, and I didn't really expect anyone to take notice - Twitter and Facebook status updates have become cathartic to me, they serve an end in themselves.

Within minutes, however, a guy by the name of Krikor Ohannessian, who happens to be in Lebanon, messaged me back to say that one of his hobbies is coming up with names for Web2.0 companies.

Krikor runs a site called Wikinomy which a well-respected web guy in America, Robert Scoble, introduced me to via a Facebook group invite. So there was a sense of inferred trust.

I sent Krikor more info, and this morning he sent me some brilliant suggestions, as well as one of those coveted Pownce invites. Awesome.

Anyway, it's a cool story of seamless global collaboration. And I thought I'd tell it to remind myself not to get too caught-up behind the Boerewors Cluetrain (i.e. just thinking and operating within the South African diaspora).

*ps. I'm not leaving Cerebra, as some people presumed - it's a related business.
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AuthorDave Duarte
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iCommons Summit FundraisingiCommons.org is calling for bloggers to help raise attention for an urgent fundraising campaign they launched yesterday.

You can read more about the campaign here, but I'll give you the skinny version in the meantime...

  • iCommons has one week to raise $63 000 for the iSummit in Croatia... Largely to pay for scholarships for 300 deserving volunteers from around the world.

  • They are calling for "21 Visionary Patrons" to sponsor a "basecamp" each on the way to the summit. Each basecamp is $3000.

  • You can help by adding your blog post, or vote (digg, muti etc) to help spread this idea - one of the "visionary patrons" might come from your blog!

  • You can help by just popping the button into your sidebar... here's some code to make that easy:

    <a href="http://icommons.org/fundraising/21-visionaries/"><img border="0" src="http://icommons.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/3.thumbnail.jpg"/></a>

  • If you're a designer, you can create your own button and submit it for use as part of the global campaign.


The button is designed to live on blogs after the campaign is over, so you won't have to take it down again after a week.

iCommons is an organisation that supports and promotes stuff like free software, open-education and creative collaborations online. Very, very important now, and increasingly important as the web becomes more influential in global business and economics, particularly for  emerging economies in Africa. (more)
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AuthorDave Duarte
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