Web of people

Last week I got another chance to listen to Andrew Keen, one of my favourite thinkers on issues concerning the web and beyond. Andrew spoke to students in Amsterdam and to the question what web 3.0 meant, he responded: ‘social and mobile’.

Back at the office, I did a bit of research and came across this interview at Techcrunch TV. Andrew interviewed Marc Davis, former chief scientist at Yahoo, who recently joined Microsoft. Andrew and Marc talked about the 3rd wave in technology. The third wave of course is a reminder of the book Alvin Toffler published in 1981, but was recently again used by John Doerr of KPCB to explain his $250.000.000 investment in a new social media fund. In John’s view the first wave was the PC and  the 2nd wave was the web. The third wave is going to be social and mobile.

Marc Davis commented by explaining we are in the middle of a shift from the web of pages to the web of people. I like to describe the changes we see today in these terms. It is again all about ‘we the people’, instead of ‘they the machines’.

Social networks and social tools have been around for a while, but the last few months we can actually see some changes in human behaviour. News gets around via tweets and likes. News is becoming a social news stream. Again, by the way, not launched by newspapers.

Search is getting more and more social. Microsoft made a good move in joining Facebook, or was it the other way around? Of course GOOG is experimenting with social search as well.

IBM invested quite a bit in making Lotus Connections a collection of usable social tools for the enterprise. This week Lotus Connections 3 will be launched. Check it out. The new version will include even social analytics.

And of course there is Dachis Group, a new company started by Jeff Dachis, during web 1.0 one of the founders of Razorfish. Backed with ample funds Jeff rolled out an international firm in no time, acquiring a set of very interesting firms, including the wonderful boutique Xplane. They want to establish a new kind of consultancy, focus on Social Business Design and ‘help companies reinvent themselves into dynamic, socially calibrated organizations that gain constant value from their ecosystem of connections’.

I think that’s a great idea, since most businesses indeed have to reinvent themselves these days. The timing looks pretty perfect as well. If scientists and thinkers agree on the next wave, the money is pouring in, the social tools and (enterprise) software are widely available and people actually prefer to use these tools to share, it’s time to start a new company.

I certainly would like to see a web of people.

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