I had an epiphany of sorts this past week while I was away at school. For every new technology trend to hit the market there is both the technology and the underlying concepts of said technology. Basically, the technology is just the tool and the concept is what defines the tool. This seems somewhat obvious but I think I’ve taken it for granted.
A fellow Millennial had the idea of creating a flickr account to capture all of the pictures from our year long graduate school adventure. As we all know, flickr is a an online community for sharing pictures and video. The key words here are online community. Online to me represents the centralization of these digital assets in the cloud and not hiding them on the desktops of 90 individuals. Community is defined as ‘common, public, shared by all or many’ and represents the ability for those 90 individuals to contribute to and view these centralized digital assets. So online is our Web 1.0 concept and community is our Web 2.0 concept.
So our Millennial friend was the first to start a community and notified the class on the 12th of this month. Following that we had another individual post pictures to SharePoint on the 17th and then a different person added pictures to Picasa on the 21st. Both of these individuals are not of the Millennial variety. So now we have three individuals building three separate communities with assets in three different tools.
I believe each of these individuals made great Web 2.0 tool decisions however they missed the boat on some key Web 2.0 concepts. Now we have three communities with the same intent, essentially creating a competitive environment. This either forces folks to share with not one community, but all three, or even worse, not share at all because the the process has been convoluted.
In our situation the usefulness of the tools is evident but the concepts of the social computing was lost on some folks. This is a small example with a big take away. I learned that regarless of how cool or interesting a technology may be, it’s the concept that is important.