The first time I started relating Web 2.0 with the Hippie revolution was when I was talking with my Chief Technology Officer about the Web 2 .0 innovations being taken in the innovation lab division of the company I work for.
Since, I am still in the process of understanding the phenonmenon of Web 2.0 ( Well many Web 2.0 gurus are still trying to figure out what course it is going to take and what impact it is going to make in our history) my view about the Web 2.0 was hazy (it is still hazy though).While talking to him I was definitely in the state of confusion whether to
(a) take up a career in Web 2.0 [ assuming Web 2.0 is the future of Web Technology ] or
(b) Just watch the Web 2.0 era [ assuming Web 2.0 is just precambian era of new internet applications]
Comparison with the Biological Evolution Precambian era was an era in the biological evolution when there was a huge outburst of life on earth.There was inexplicably and unimaginably huge number of species getting formed and getting extinct every few years (possibly days).And ,it had a huge impact on the living organisms thereafter.Similarly,the current age of internet post web 1.0 , i.e. web 2.0 era is showing endless possibilities of web applications.And it has endless impact on the social structure today and also possibly on the history of our civilization.
Coming back to how I first started relating Hippie revolution of the 60’s with the Web 2.0 revolution is when I was talking to Web 2.0 head of my company and I was starting to get a dizzying feeling of getting blown away by his web 2.0 innovations for the company.
The reason I started the link the two revolutions was may have been his long hair look but more importantly it looked similar to the very ideals of the hippie culture. Below is a comparison of Hippie ideals and the Web 2.0 ideals.
But wait a minute. Is our comparison of Web 2.0 with the Hippie revolution really valid.
Is it Really a valid Comparison
Well in a web 2.0 world the following explanation may be merely a “Personal interpretation of the real fact” (which is also one of the key requirements for arriving at the truth in a world ruled by ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ – I am referring to the Today’s “Wikipedia” generation)
So here are my thoughts about the comparison:
As in Football whenever we see a new rising star , we compare him by saying “Will he be the next Pele” similarly any new consistent test batsman is compared with Don Bradman.
Same thing applies to any new trend that looks similar to the past trend but we say it as “History repeating itself”
So, Web 2.0 just resembles the Hippie revolution of the 60’s but it has got nothing to do with the Web 2.0 revolution. It’s just a coincidence.
Positives of Web 2.0
Just like Hippie revolution made it possible to enforce Anti-Racism laws during Kennedy’s tenure, Web 2.0 might cause a world of freely sharable software instead of proprietary software, hence the end of Microsoft’s reign (I am talking about the Google Apps taking over Office software, Google Gears to enforce offline usability of the freely available internet applications and the possibility of the formidable Google OS and possibly swiping away the proprietary OS markets.)
Negatives of Web 2.0 —- “Enterprise 2.0”
And the bad thing about Hippie revolution was, it took away some of the brightest young men to the world of LSD and freaking out. The impact is still seen in the Pop-Culture , “Party Every night” attitude and increased number of people getting divorced.
Well, what’s the Web 2.0 equivalents of the negative impacts as in Hippie revolution?
The worst affected by Web 2.0 would probably be the Enterprises and companies which run primarily on information.As we know today’s businesses run on information. An extra information about a customer sometimes provides companies a leading edge over the others in the market. With Web 2.0, there is always a danger of information being leaked out because IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO SEMANTICALLY SEPARATE A ‘SHARABLE’ INFORMATION AND A ‘NON-SHARABLE’ INFORMATION.
What is Enterprise 2.0? After the companies in the by-lanes of IT industry started challenging the enterprises like IBM , Microsoft etc using web 2.0 technologies the enterprises are also trying to adapt themselves according to the new environmental changes.So applying the Web 2.0 aspects inside a closed organization within the firewalls with some restrictions is called Enterprise 2.0
What makes Enterprise version of Web 2.0 so negative:
Web 2.0 makes the world a better place to live in but its corporate version i.e. Enterprise 2.0 does have two disadvantages (as far as I could see)
(a) It is going to completely revamp the organizational structure of the corporate organizations all over the world which more or less is a dictator-slave relationship between the boss and the worker. In a nutshell, Enterprise 2.0 is going to make the corporate world FLAT.And the bosses are not going to let their powers to be flattened so easily.
(b) With more and more people being drawn into the cyberspace which also includes the employees of an organization whose key asset is INFORMATION, there is a huge chance of INFORMATION being SHARED(or LEAKED) to the outside world.
Scenario 1:Imagine a scenario where an senior employee at a leading chip manufacturing company, has something to share about the new way of manufacturing IC chips.
He puts it on WORDPRESS blog.If the new way of manufacturing IC chips is based on a unique technique followed by his company then the information he has provided on the blog is actually a case of CRITICAL INFORMATION LEAKAGE.
Another scenario:,Imagine an organization that deals with critical personal information of country’s important people like President,Army chief,Finance Minister and their families, say , an Insurance company. One employee of such a company is a die hard Blogger.If that employee reveals, even by mistake any critical information on the Blog or any Web 2.0 site the company may have to pay for huge losses.CRITICAL INFORMATION LEAKAGE again.
What’s the solution then?
(a) STOP internet access to the employees at the office and also forbid the employees to have any PUBLIC life on the internet i.e. do not allow him to have Facebook , WordPress , Orkut or MySpace account.
(b) The above solution is very difficult to implement because everyday you block a blogging site there’s another one popping everyday.Also people will start complaining about loss of PRIVATE ( ??? or rather PUBLIC ??) life on the internet. Because, people get some happiness in sharing their thoughts and pictures to the world. And if that thought happens to be based on some information which his employer happens to depend on for surviving in the business, everything’s gone.That’s why companies are turning to provide their own Blog spaces that can be seen only by the companies employees.Hence,the information leakage is stopped and also the employees are happy.
What the Web 2.0 Innovation Experts within the organizations need to understand:
(a) They are creating Enterprise 2.0 solution and NOT web 2.0 solutions.
(b) Their primary goal is to achieve INFORMATION SECURITY as well as CATER TO THE WEB 2.0 ADDICTIONS OF THE EMPLOYEES.
Read more on Web 2.0 addictions among the employees
Therefore, Enterprise 2.0 is as below [and NOT Hippie 2.0]
(a) Secure version of Web 2.0 that will avoid the CRITICAL INFORMATION LEAKAGE.
(b) Keep the employees of the company happy and happy employees are the most productive.
(c) A completely new species among the Web 2.0 counterparts which is exclusively built for Information security.