Web 2.0 Elephant

When Tim O Reilly coined the Web 2.0 term. Then the collective intelligence went to work and added their own definitions. I just came out of a Web Innovation 2007 conference in Bangalore. A bunch of us there were in a deep quest and introspection of how Web 2.0 can help the common man. But that did not prevent us from fantasizing a bit. The number of different descriptions were as varied as the participants and the speakers. Here is a small sample.

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4 thoughts on “Web 2.0 Elephant”

  1. What if all of these disconnected concepts aren’t actually part of a larger whole? Donald N. Michael has some observations regarding a missing elephant that suggest an alternate explanation.

    I’ll begin with a Sufi story we’re all familiar with. It’s the story of the blind persons and the elephant. Recall that persons who were blind were each coming up with a different definition of what was ‘out there’ depending on what part of the elephant they were touching. Notice that the story depends on a storyteller, someone who can see that there is an elephant. What I’m going to propose today is that the storyteller is blind. There is no elephant. The storyteller doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

    Two references

    Some Observations Regarding a Missing Elephant
    http://www.co-intelligence.org/DonaldElephant.html

    Seeing The Elephant: The Entrepreneur’s Challenge of Integrating Advice
    http://www.skmurphy.com/blog/2007/12/14/seeing-the-elephant-the-entrepreneurs-challenge-of-integrating-advice/

  2. Sean,
    Thanks for the comment and links. The traditional story about elephant and blind men can be a story about “collective intelligence”, as well.

  3. There is another aspect. Lot of us see what we want to see. Or at least see it through our colored glasses. So a tools company deals with Web 2.0 as a tool problem and a media company thinks that it is all about expression and a services company sees it as a way of providing some specialized service.

    Like Marc Canter said, we should not pay too much attention to labels and get stuck. I think people know that. But terms like Web 2.0 are place holders to describe a space. The Semantic Web crowd is struggling with the same problem.

    I am happy to see multiple (even contradictory) views. It forces me to think and certainly augments my knowledge.

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