Category Archives: participation

User Centric to User Driven

July was an active month within the social computing space. Microsoft kicked things off by acquiring Powerset for $100m. Founded in October 2006 and having raised $12.5m in venture funding the San Francisco based search and natural language company are early semantic web practictioners. Apple launched its much awaited iPhone 3G with 1m units sold over its opening weekend. If you have yet to get hands on with the device we recommend watching its 30 minute guided tour video.

Google went public with Lively, one of its virtual world projects. The browser based offering joins Meez Nation and a number of other browser based virtual world offerings currently within the marketplace. IBM and Linden Lab announced the launch of their Open Grid Public Beta project. Interoperability within virtual worlds is something both companies have been working on in partnership for sometime.

Each of the above were discussed with analysts looking to understand how the third wave is taking shape. While public listed companies were mere observers of the second wave they are now positioning themselves to be active participants within the third wave. Making this transition from user centric to user driven is one of the great challenges many organisations face as we enter the Meta Age. Interesting times indeed.

Social Computing Going Mainstream

Our first quarter has been diverse and interesting. On the for-profit side we have introduced architects to collaborating via Second Life, investment bankers to mentoring via Eve Online, retailers to incorporating World Of Warcraft within their in-house training programs and provided second opinions to blue chips on their Internet Strategies.

On the non-profit side we have spoken with representatives from charities about how they might better harness the power of the Web. One of those is Paul Lynch and his committee who organise the annual GOAL charity ball in Paris. This year they are using a wiki to organise the event rather than email. Ronan and Paul have revamped www.goal-ball.org enabling people to pay for tickets online, specify meal choices and pick tables. A group has also been setup on Facebook (GOAL Ball Paris) for attendees to join in the conversation.

Each of the above projects are good illustrations of the transition now taking place in social computing. The beneficial use of second generation Web tools is now moving from early adopters to mainstream users.