What a Difference a Year Makes

From faculty.ucc.eduThis year is not last year.

Last year, I spent hours talking Web 2.0 to teams in development. Collectively, we probably held 20 or so educational sessions and then a similar number of follow up roundtables to discuss ideas spawned by the first session.

This year, I’ve been spending days collecting requirements of teams that want to start communities. These teams have been tasked to reach out to their constituents and want guidance on where to begin and how to proceed.

Last year, social networking was a phenomenon I explained with MySpace, and to a lesser degree Facebook. In both cases, the example typically was met with either a blank look or a “my kid does that”. Applying social networking within the firewall was a gamble because it wasn’t work-related.

This year, I look at my news feed in Facebook and see more activity from Oracle people every day, joining groups, adding applications, making connections. I see 8,000-10,000 visits to Connect each week, despite its limited feature set, i.e. only social networking and ideas. I get requests to add features to Connect, and when I mention we’re doing an upgrade, I get asked enthusiastically to keep these people in the loop.

Last year, I never heard anything about customers and initiatives to introduce social networking behind the firewall. This may be a function of people I talk to, but I doubt there was much demand even beyond what I hear.

This year, I hear about this several times a month, and the audience I observed at Web 2.0 Expo was comprised of a large percentage of people representing companies. Companies have made the “socialprise” a priority because they see potential.

Last year, I had time to design features and blog while we pushed the rock uphill.

This year, I struggle to keep up with requests, requirements, project statuses, inquiries and blogging (no assumptions about demand there), running in front of that rock.

This is a great validation of what we do here in the ‘Lab. Now if only we can keep up with the demand.

Speaking of demand, I’m trying to think ahead to problems that will occur, i.e. what pains me now, is sure to pain other people very soon. I’m betting on aggregation and useful syndication as the next big issues to tackle. Consuming New Web is great, but it quickly becomes overwhelming.

Is this consistent with what you’ve observed at your company? Not much of a post, but I’m curious to know if this is as widespread as I’ve observed. If you read here often, you weren’t expecting much anyway.



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