In a recent blog post that I provocatively called "Why McAfees definition of Enterprise 2.0 is flawed", I highlighted a part from Tom Graves post "Annoyed at Enterprise 2.0" and made the following point:
"In order not to forget the human dimension, we need to constantly remind ourselves about it. So, the least thing we can ask from a definition of Enterprise 2.0 is that it does just that. In this sense, McAfee's definition of Enterprise 2.0 is flawed. It is missing what made the social web to the social web - the people, not the technology."
In response to this, McAfee writes as follows in a blog post called "A Defining Moment" (I have left a comment on his blog with the same contents as below, but it has not yet been published when I publish this post):
"People have always been around on the Web and in the enterprise, and they’ve always wanted to find each other, interact, and collaborate.""The 2.0 era came about because the technology toolkit available to help them do these things took a great leap forward with the appearance of emergent social software platform"
I do agee with the first sentence (without people, there wouldn't be a web), but I do think that the great leap forward should be attributed more to how people have "matured" in how they perceive and make use of the web.
Only 10 years ago, most people were skeptic to revel details about themselves online and to contact or communicate with people which they didn't know in real life. Many were worried about their integrity and privacy. At the same time, many of the technologies and tools that we now call Web 2.0 were available on the web. There were lots of communities, social networking sites and collaboration services that offered very similar ways to interact and communicate with other people as the once we have today. The tools and technologies have surely evolved since, but I think its dangerous to attribute the massive adoption of Web-based tools and technologies to the tools and technologies themselves.
Over the last decade, people have become accustomed to using and socializing via the web. In the dotcom years, many of us thought people were ready for it, but they weren't. Now they are. We also have a new generation that have grown up with the web. That is the major difference. Now, even my mother in law is now on Facebook. Ten, five or even two years ago, it would not have happened.
Here are some statistics about social media that many wouldn't have believed in only 10 years ago:
- 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
- The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females
- 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations (online)
How much would you attribute to technology for this development, and how much to human attitudes and behavior?