Wanted to blog on this article and my buddy, Damon, beat me to it. In a recent CIO Magazine article, Christopher Koch writes about the myth of community and how it’s being bandied about as collaboration was during the previous bubble.
Couple of questions Christopher asks and Damon addresses well. Here’s my take:
1. What’s the perceived value of sites like Second Life, MySpace and YouTube?
For the target audience that MySpace caters to — the youth. They “use it for identity production and socialization in contemporary American society”. For those interested, check out an excellent explanation by Danah Boyd as to what teens do on MySpace:
Of course, ask any teen what they’re doing with their friends in general; they’ll most likely shrug their shoulders and respond nonchalantly with “just hanging out.” Although adults often perceive hanging out to be wasted time, it is how youth get socialized into peer groups. Hanging out amongst friends allows teens to build relationships and stay connected. Much of what is shared between youth is culture – fashion, music, media. The rest is simply presence. This is important in the development of a social worldview.
The perceived value for youth is it gives them a walled stadium where they can hang out w/ their friends and the fact that there are millions of teenagers drives corporations to advertise there — an obvious value.
2. But can you really build a community around kitchens or power tools?
No, you don’t build communities around power tools like you would around the Macintosh. I agree w/ Damon that not all products/services are created equal and therefore the opportunity to create communities and evangelize varies among different products.
So, does Web 2.0 foster communities? Web 2.0 is only a tool that helps extend your offline communities into the online world. It’s a much more effective way to stay in touch w/ your vast family of connections dispersed all over the globe.. blah blah blah
But let me ask YOU – TIME’s Person of the Year
Do you believe Web 2.0 fosters communities?