Social Networking not working?

Another day, another 'Web 2 not working' survey writes Tracey Caldwell.

Did you LinkIn then log out? Did you leave Second Life to get a life? Nothing to say on your blog or wouldn’t know a wiki if you met one in the street? You may not be alone.  Web research company Hitwise has found that the vast majority of people are lurkers, watching and not contributing to Web 2.0 sites.

Web 2.0 is not working, proclaimed news stories all over the web, based on a keynote speech  presented by Bill Tancer analyst at Hitwise on the "State of the Web 2.0: Measuring the Participatory Web”. Hands were thrown up in horror at the Hitwise figures showing only 0.2% of visitors to Flickr actually post pictures and a miserable 0.16% posted videos on YouTube.

Web 2.0 participation is certainly not widespread in business where hierarchical company structures and competitive career structures work against the Web 2.0 ideals of knowledge sharing and communal advances.

Web 2.0 for the business is unimaginatively dubbed Enterprise 2.0, a terminology that has the effect of making a global interactive networking phenomena sound like a rather dull CMS bundle. Given its uninspiring moniker it comes as no surprise that Enterprise 2.0 too seems to have stumbled at the starting gate.

BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan Jones carried out an amusing personal study of the potential for Web 2.0 in his working life and concluded that at forty something he is too old to Twitter and too mature for Myspace.

A study that seems only slightly more scientific in that it included more than one respondent was conducted by NetBenefit. The hosting provider claimed its survey “Explodes the myth of poor take-up of web 2.0”. The write up of the poll breathlessly revealed that 60% of respondents are actively using web 2.0 technologies: “Despite recent criticism that Web 2.0 is all marketing spin people feel there is real substance to the new technologies being deployed such as blogs, Ajax and mash-ups with 69% of companies disagreeing that Web 2.0 is just hype”.

Turns out the survey was carried out amongst delegates at Internet World with an undisclosed number and type of respondent. The results also revealed the unastonishing revelation that Web 2.0 is seen as a natural progression in the usage of Internet technology “with 83% agreeing that it is an online 'evolution' rather than a radical step change in the way we use the World Wide Web”.

All this “Web 2.0 is not working” stuff does seem to be based on the slightly dodgy premise that minority participation is a problem though. In most sectors of society, a minority are the participants or the creators, from music, to software development, to R&D in industry. Tom Loosemore at the BBC is a Web 2.0 maven; tap into his blog for how Web 2. 0 can work in business.

Or Connected Internet has produced a nice, very short summary of what social Web 2.0 can contribute to business.