Monday, July 17, 2006

O'Reilly Radar Post

Just posted the below on O'Reilly Radar blog site as a comment to an interesting article he posted on July 17th entitled "Levels of the Game: The Hierarchy of Web 2.0 Applications". Just to capture a little of the frustration I have about how to stand out in a sea full of blogs, WEB 2.0 companies, etc. Anyway, would appreciate your feedback and discussion.

"Great article and insightful comments. I'd agree with the levels in the parent article. I especially liked the publishing analogy as the comparison to the printing press accurately captures the importance of the internet on modern society.

My actual comment is sort of off topic but I would like to discuss how the sheer number of WEB 2.0 sites out there, with more coming everyday, may actually be "watering down" the collaborative aspects at the very heart of WEB 2.0.

Don't get me wrong. I think WEB 2.0 is great and I expect great things from it. However, with the abundance of similar WEB 2.0 sites out there, how thriving a community can any one site hope to develop? Will not a larger community help drive the quantity of collaboration and, quite possibly, the quality? Sure there are examples of sites that have robust communities (Flickr, MySpace, etc.) but there are many more "cottage" sites out there that are starved for attention.

If you look at the internet from a 10,000 foot level there is a lot of collaboration happening today thanks to WEB 2.0 that wasn't happening just a few years back. However, if you zoom in to the 100 foot level you will see that for the most part this "collaboration" is diluted through many different sites. I think you would be hard pressed to find many sites that could be defined as true communities as opposed to cliques.

I am reminded of that old joke that goes something like, "If you put a million monkeys in a room, give them a million typewriters to bang on, eventually together they will produce a great novel." This won't happen if you spread those million monkeys out over 100,000 rooms or sites.

Not calling anyone a monkey by any means. The comments posted to this article are evidence that there are many sharp minds out there doing there thing. I am simply saying that people ought to give some thought to how better aggregate all this collaborative effort that is happening. The larger the collaborative community the more everyone in said community will benefit.

I don't think simply saying that the cream will rise to the top solves the above. Sometimes cream does rise but with the abundance of WEB 2.0 sites out there I believe it is very easy for the cream to curdle.

Anyway. My two cents. Again, good post. Cheers!"

Your thoughts?
Tom

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