3 relevant topics for designing web 2.0 platforms ·

What are the 3 main topics when talking about a (so-called) web 2.0 service?

I collected some thoughts for a talk at CoreMedia recently. Although some days passed by since then, i don’t want to miss posting them here. It’s not rocket science, just a personal view on what should be considered.

Most important to me is the discussion about the identity. What do you answer when somebody asks you: “i want to build a “community”. What do i have to do?” I would always answer: what’s your (company’s) identity? Is there a clear vision what you do and what makes your company unique? Without this vision, it is impossible to build a community or to do anything else what makes sense.

I saw an impressive presentation of Jyri Engestöm titled “object centered sociality” at the reboot conference last year. His assumption was that any community is built around a “shared object”. This shared object can be a physical object but mustn’t. It also can be something immaterial like an idea. He describes this thought in his brilliant blog post.

From a perspective of a company that wants to build relationships to its customers, this shared object is the identity. It can be the brand itself or it can be a product, but it must be something thats worth to identify with. The more tangible, the better. Do you identify yourself with Daimler Chrysler? Rarely. With the Mercedes Brand? Maybe. With a specific car, let’s say an 1973 W108 S-Class? Surely, if you like it. That means that a community around W108-type cars is much more likely a success than a Daimler Chrysler community.

In the example of a german newspaper (the Süddeutsche Zeitung) mentioned in my presentation, the shared object is the city of Munich. The identity of the Süddeutsche Zeitung is closely related to the origin where it comes from, and the same can be said the other way round. Munich strongly benefits from the identity of its famous newspaper. This kind of identity is perfectly suitable to build a “web 2.0”- community. At the moment, they are selling books and videos “through” this identity, with huge success. But some day, they surely will come up with something like a bavarian myspace. Let’s see.

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