Web 2.0 needs to lose the social software thing, please

September 15, 2006 at 9:13 am 7 comments

e-consultancy.com Reported:

Following up from the d.Construct post yesterday, I wanted to talk about the apparent obsession with social software at the moment, and to ask for comments on why you think it’s so. Seriously, there are so many other things that can be done!

What’s prompted this is Yet Another Client Call Asking for Web 2.0 and Tagging (that’s YACCAWT people!). Sure, the playing field is still new and there are opportunities to be had in social networking sites, but they’re limited now. I wish people were calling me up to discuss how to add a mapping mashup to their product data so that they can do x,y,z… or whatever, but you get my meaning.

At the conference, there were a plethora of neat examples that illustrated stuff that is really interesting (and I start to see how they can be applied to my technology problems), but by and large they all had some sort of social app connotation.

Interesting, but also boring from a business perspective.

So in general, there seems to be a lack of the application of the newer technologies to real world business problems, where that implementation would represent a quantum leap in user interface, usability and ultimately user experience and functionality.

Every time Web 2.0 is brought up, in the same breath we hear Bebo, MySpace, Flickr, Del.icio.us, etc etc etc – I’m not knocking these apps because they’re great and I use them all (apart from MySpace and Bebo). But it forces me to ask why we’re so obsessed with creating the next social app, instead of applying these really cool and useful new technologies to other problems and business opportunities.

Basecamp, and the other apps created by the team at 37Signals are probably the only exception to this rule that I can think of, along with a few other applications released by the really big gorillas of the web world.

I wonder if this is because the people who drive solutions to business problems are the managers and CEOs, whilst the people that create and implement new technologies are techies who are scratching an itch they have for something that they can’t already do. The techie is motivated by challenge, whilst the manager is motivated by ROI – simple paradox, but this I think is what is underscoring the situation at the moment.

There is loads more that can be discussed around this, but I’d be really interested to hear if you’ve experienced the same thing, or are you thinking along the same lines…?


Entry filed under: 37signals, bebo, Blogroll, del.icio.us, flickr, internet, mashup, myspace, myspace.com, online, social, social media, social networking, social software, Technology, web, web 2.0, weblog.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Harshad Joshi  |  September 15, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    Social software is apparently the need of the moment, because a lot people are unable to maintain social contacts in ‘offline’ life, because of lacking time. Also, ‘offline’ socializing has got so many inherent flaws, that people cannot get togather and mix up to share thoughts. Its more easy to maintain friendship and contacts through digital social networks, coz there is no need for commitment of any sort. It reduces lot of burdan, but it can cause a lot lonliness too..

    BTW, thats an awesome pic you have posted. I wanted to compliment you for that.


  • 2. techaddress  |  September 15, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks for the great comment and informative views. By the way, the picture is from the following URL: http://ru3.com/luc/uploaded_images/web2-big-745097.jpg

  • 3. Harshad Joshi  |  September 15, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    And Web 2.0 makes it easy for people to create online applications fast..So, even though you have got valid concern over those ‘overuse’ of Web 2.0 technology, you may also agree that ‘Social Networking’ tools are todays quickest way of communication and information sharing..More fast then conventional media like TV/Radio.

    Many people like it. Consumers demand, producers supply..its that easy and simple.

  • 4. John Milan  |  September 15, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    I have the distinct feeling that Social Software contains a connotation I was unaware of. I think of ‘social software’ as something that recognizes, enables and facilitates group activities– hence my blurb about Project Management that you commented on.

    However, it looks like most of the world thinks of ‘social software’ as touchy, feely waste of time activities. Now, I can waste time with the best of them, but its certainly not what I meant for describing our business application.

    What I’m trying to define is business apps that work better with and cater to gruops. I don’t like the term groupware. Collaboration has a certain ‘thud’-iness to it. But I want a bit of humanity to come through as well. Because behind the pixels are in fact people.

    Maybe this post
    will help. But in the meantime, I agree with you that ‘social software’ as defined by most people today is not an apt description for a business app– certainly not a project management app.

    Best Regards,

    John Milan
    TeamDirection, Inc.

  • 5. The Rooster  |  September 16, 2006 at 7:27 am

    I totally agree… I have a podcast (which I need a co-host for!) called The global Geek Podcast, it has a focus of Web2.0 and other stuff. I follow closely the arena where this plays out. It is almost as if every application has to have a social networking element, I wonder if new sites feel a pressure to include it so as to not be left out.

    But each week I have to sift through the huge list of new web2.0 “stuff” and now I am almost ignoring new social networks, I want to see some more innovative things, yes there is so much more developers could do. Indeed to do something different would be more noticed for that very fact! Nice insight.

  • […] I invite you to read the post, it is well worth it and it has been coming. I have been thinking the same thing for a while now. Come on lets see the real innovation start to come out; I too am sick of social networking. […]

  • 7. Nate  |  September 21, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    Rooster, nice site!


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