What You Need Vs What You Prefer- Principles of the Social Web

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Asked the other day, “Where will our technology company be in five-years?”  I don’t know that I had a solid answer.

I began contemplating where the web will be in five years.  I knew very little of Facebook five/six years ago, MySpace was king, “MySpace will never go away.”

As we again begin to see Advertising driving the web, there are dilemmas that arise with each passing day.  Who advertises where?   I get tired of seeing crappy spam on Facebook and sleazy ads in the sidebar.  For THIS reason I quit using My Space.

Where are we going?  I believe in learning from the past we can plan for the future.  The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman does a great job lining out the intricacies of the internet and how we should begin to leverage the web to our advantage.  The use of free information, Google searches at everyone’s disposal and social connections can drive all kinds of economies.  We must leverage the web with the principles that are driving it.

The Great Renaming was a moment in internet history when there was an information overload and three bottlenecks were drivers.  These bottlenecks fleshed out the drivers of the Social Web.

These three reasons drove The Great Renaming controversy: 

1. Costs

2. Content

3. Decision-makers

On 4/11/11 Alexandra Samuel wrote article on HBR.org titled The Core Tenants of the Social Web, 25 Years in the Making Where she discusses a controversy from the beginnings of the internet: The Great Renaming.

In this article The Great Renaming is revealed to be a transition time for the internet, when they moved from three hierarchies to seven.  Three reasons drove the change.  First, Costs of transporting data and the increasing amount of junk clouding the lines.   Second, Content was treated with relevance and highly distributed or downgraded to another hierarchy.  Third, Decision-Makers that drove the content were a limited-circle with limited-accountability and self-interested motives.  Controversy surrounded the switch, so the Core Principles for the Social Web were founded.

Three Core Principles for the Social Web Developed:

1. Free.  The freemium model continues to drive interest and business today.

2. Open.  Should be free, but not discriminate.

3. Participatory. “Websites that are seen as participatory and user driven earn major Kudos”

Google has capitalized on this concept for years with its long-standing principle, “Don’t be Evil.”  However, as Ads and SEO become drivers in the economies, how can one not be evil?  You have seen Google try to move into Social.  I have heard many contemplations of Google purchasing Twitter.  What a conundrum that would be!

All things considered, we like Free, Open and Participatory on a real level.  But when I’m buying a pair of jeans, a new T-Shirt or a new car we want something unique.  I want Value, Closed and Exclusivity.

Today We Prefer

Even with a clear view of Free, Open and Participatory as drivers, I see people more driven by:

1. Value.

2. Closed.

3. Exclusivity.

Three values drive my preferences today which are the opposite of Free, Open and Participatory.  Since the internet is free, access is open and anyone can enjoy.  Even you Dad, who is today my Facebook friend, and an avid supporter of eBay. eBay is a place where I’ll buy something just because I see value.  For events, I’ll go to something just because not everyone is invited.  I’ll want to take part more because just a few people can make it.

Funny the balance, of the Free, Open and Participatory when lined with the Value, Closed and Exclusive.

Interesting what we “need” versus what we “prefer.”

Is this true for you?

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