So Web 2.0 doesn’t work…or misunderstandings about communities

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Some where waiting for it…we got the news last week : web 2.0 don’t work. It’s the conclusion of a CNET article : nobody collaborates on the collaborative web.

Have we been fooled ? Are all the alleged benefits of web 2.0 only a cloud of smoke ? Sure this kind of conclusion can scare people at the time the need for evangelization is still very important.

In my opinion, web 2.0, should it be inter or intranet is not collaborative or participative by definition. Web 2.0 is community web, and because it’s community web, people share and collaborate. A slight difference in the definition that finally has a lot of importance.

It’s not because you provide people with tools to publish, share, collaborate… that they will do so. People need to know what to use it for, publishing, sharing etc… must help them to reach a goal. Where there’s no goal there’s no need, and not much uses of the tools.

The numbers CNET quoted are “global numbers”. Perharp, if we coud have a more precise focus, we would realize that those 2 of 3% of “active people” are mainly focused on a very few topics where participation is 30, 40,…maybe 50% ? In fact the study was focus on platforms and no on communities.

There are many things that can be use to describe a community. Among them you can find a common goal, shared values, similar interests… If those words can apply to a group of people, then you have a community. People know what they are here for, they wan to do things for and with the others…and then collaboration and “co-acting” will emerge. If there’s nothing of all that, you only have a group without specific purpose…and there’s a lot of chance nothing will happen.

This is also a good hint for managers who want to use 2.0 tools : if you want things to happen you have at least to make sure people know what they are here for, that they want do it, that they share the same interest and motivation about the subject… And then only you’ll get more than 2% people participating.