Wednesday, 17 December 2008


I've just started reading Groundswell, a book addressing Web 2.0 and the larger movement it represents. It has a fantastic definition of the "groundswell" which represents the growth of the culture around Web 2.0 and social media:

The groundswell is a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other instead of from companies.

This neatly rolls together both the threat and opportunity that Web 2.0 represents to any corporation, and especially those involved in the production and distribution of information (including the publisher I work for).

The threat is clear: the production-distribution-consumption model, with companies as the producers/distributors and individuals as the consumer, has been radically altered. The premium prices that individuals paid companies to maintain their resources and processes are no longer required. Due to the internet and Web 2.0, anybody can create and distribute information to an enormous audience, and all it costs them is their time and effort. If they are providing this for free, why would individuals pay for it?

So what is the opportunity for the former manufacturer-distributors? It is to support these burgeoning communities, to create innovative tools that facilitate their sharing activities. To support the free information with premium quality information that is directly relevant to the question at hand.

In my next couple of posts I'll come back to these concepts. I'll take another look at Ravelry (my favourite Web 2.0 site) and also review Sara Lloyd's fantastic article, "A book publisher's manifesto for the 21st century".