Going to Web2.1

After waffling for a bit, I decided to go to Web 2.1 after all. I stayed late this evening at work, and I’ll head in early tomorrow, and will probably have to go in over the weekend, but it’s worth it to talk to some folks whose stuff I’ve been reading for a while.

I think the question that I’d like to see discussed is this idea that Web2.1 is for the people. The tools I see out there right now are still very tech-oriented. Ning.com just came out and is designed for people to construct their own social applications. Which is awesome. Except that I’m guessing most people don’t have any ideas for social applications. I know I’m stumped.

I think this is where we may be overselling the idea of Web2.1. It’s like the ever-popular analogy of software to architecture. No matter how easy architecture tools become, the average person isn’t going to be able to do a good job of designing a house, because it takes long years of experience and many rounds of feedback to learn the tricks of the trade. I foresee that many instances of the current round of social software will fizzle out against the same obstacle.

I think a different focus may be in order. Rather than try to give the tools directly to the people, perhaps we should focus on how we design the tools such that they are most useful to people. What are the design principles of Web2.1? I have my own ideas, but it’s a question I hope to hear some different viewpoints on.

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