Social Capital Theory Meets Web 2.0, by Donna Bogatin

Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor

by Donna Bogatin

Interactive Presentation Authored by Donna Bogatin
Presented at IBM Research Center, Tuesday, February 6, 2007 

I was invited to share my Web 2.0 thoughts with T.J. Watson Research Labs. 

In Web 2.0 and blogosphere fashion, my presentation to IBM was Web-based and live, and posted here at this Digital Markets Blog for the World Wide Web to interact with as well!

My presentation is “SOCIAL CAPITAL THEORY MEETS WEB 2.0”

I presented live to IBM Research Labs Tuesday, February 6, 2007. My interactive outline is below.

Interactive Presentation Authored by Donna Bogatin

Tim Berners-Lee envisaged the World Wide Web as a participatory medium from its origination. The original browser was also an editor and Berners-Lee wanted it to function as a collaborative authoring tool enabling interaction and editing.

Web 2.0 technologies, applications and business models are now sparking user participation and fostering group communication in both the personal and professional spheres. From blogs to wikis to social networking, consumers and businesses are tagging, bookmarking, commenting and sharing for personal expression and community building. 

Is the Web 2.0 phenomenon a democratizing force? Are businesses capturing and delivering value through Web 2.0 experiences? Will Web 2.0 flourish in 2007 and beyond? 

The impact of participatory media on individuals and within the enterprise is explored in collaborative social fashion via Web 2.0 tools.

SOCIAL CAPITAL: Definitions and Implications

Encyclopedia definition, the Wikipedia “free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” definition that is, for “Social Capital”:

Social capital is a core concept in business, economics, organizational behaviour, political science, and sociology, defined as the advantage created by a person's location in a structure of relationships. It explains how some people gain more success in a particular setting through their superior connections to other people.

Wikipedia is itself a living example of a Web 2.0 Social Capital building endeavor in action. Wikipeida solicits individuals to contribute their personal capital to Wikipedia and thereby help develop its Social Capital value. 

What is Wikipedia? Self-description.

Wikipedia puts forth a Social Capital worthy positioning that it welcomes anyone and everyone with an Internet-connected computer to be a “Wikipedia editor.”

Does Wikipedia accurately reflect the world’s collective wisdom? Is Wikipidea a Web 2.0 Social Capital building structure to be emulated?

Wikpedia’s two co-founders do not put forth ringing, unqualified endorsements. 

Web 2.0 smackdown: intellectuals vs. amateurs in Citizendium”: Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger decries the “serious and endemic problems” afflicting Wikipedia and has set-out to create a better, “responsibly-managed free knowledge project,” Citizendium, to counteract Wikipedia’s inherently flawed “amateurism.”

Wikipedia: Should students trust it?”: Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia co-founder and leader, advises students against relying on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia itself disclaims its reliability: “Articles may still contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism.”How can Wikipedia not vouch for its own quality? Wikipedia is operated under fundamentally flawed editorial constrtucts.

Is Wikipedia ‘knowledge’ merely third party hearsay?”: The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth… original research may not be published in Wikipedia.

The quality of “Social Capital” engendered by Wikipedia is debatable and so is the quantity.

Social freeloaders: Is there a collective wisdom and can the Web obtain it?”: Jimmy Wales says “What does define Wikipedia is the volunteer community and the open participation.” He qualifies the extent of the community, however:

“A lot of people think of Wikipedia as being 10 million people, each adding one sentence…But really the vast majority of work is done by this small core community.”

The “small core community” is estimated to be “a geographically diffuse group of 1,000 or so regulars” that perform “the bulk of the writing and editing on Wikipedia,” branded as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.”

WEB 2.0: Definitions and Examples

Tim Berners-Lee recently underscored Web 2.0 collaborative technologies reflect his original interactive vision for the World Wide Web.

Web 1.0 was all about connecting people.  It was an interactive space, and I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means.  If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people.  But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.

So Web 2.0 for some people it means moving some of the thinking client side so making it more immediate, but the idea of the Web as interaction between people is really what the Web is. That was what it was designed to be as a collaborative space where people can interact.

Consumer Facing Web 2.0 “Collaborative Spaces Where People Can Interact”

DIGG: “Digital Media Democracy”? 

“As a user, you participate in determining all site content by discovering, selecting, sharing, and discussing the news, videos, and podcasts that appeal to you. 

Kevin Rose, Founder, Digg, September 2006 in Digg: Kevin Rose talks ‘The Real Deal’”:

QUESTION: You recently announced that you are changing the Digg story promotion algorithim to enhance diversity of digger input with the goal of keeping digg as useful, democratic, and devoid of misuse as possible. You also have said that users like Digg because they are contributing to true, free, democratic social platforms devoid of monetary motivations.

How does user self submission of stories jibe with “democratic” and “devoid of monetary motivations”? For example: 1) self-nominations have been problematic in democracies and 2) bloggers, writers and Websites submitting their own stories are driven by monetary motivations.

ROSE: Anyone can submit. There are 4000 newly submitted stories daily. We don’t have a problem with people submitting their own stories. It is not up to the person submitting story if it makes it to the front page. It is up to the community if that is something they want to see on the front page.

ROSE NOW: It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I wanted to get the New Year underway by clearing up a couple of perceptions that have arisen around attempts to manipulate (game) the listing of home page stories on Digg.

Blogosphere reaction: Web 2.0: Do users matter? Typical responses to Digg’s evolution are allegations of disregard for what some deem to be Digg’s most important users and warnings of Digger alienation.

What is really going on at Digg? Isn’t Web 2.0 supposed to be about community? Doesn’t community mean every member matters, the same. Digg’s evolution means that users do matter, all users, not just a minority that believe they matter more for whatever reason.

Digg improves its free-to-the-user systems to enhance everyone’s user experience and its own company performance. A good corporate CEO thinks like a good government President: every person counts, towards the good for all the people.

YAHOO ANSWERS “New Kind of Volunteerism”?

Yahoo CEO Terry Semel claims Yahoo: We trump MySpace, Facebook 

“Yahoo! Answers has become the largest collection of human knowledge on the web in just over a year since its initial launch, having now grown to almost 75 million unique monthly users worldwide” 

What is Yahoo Answers? “It’s the one place where the world shares what they know to help each other out.”

Current questions: “How do you boil a potato the right way?,” “I found a way to make money online without risking or paying anything (multiple postings),” “Messenger is acting sketchy, why?,” “What classifies a college as “good”?...

AND from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton:

“Based on your own family’s experience, what do you think we should do to improve health care in America?” Yahoo: 36,147 people tell Hillary Clinton what to do


Physical Capital = Hard assets for exploitation (Plants, equipment…) 

Human Capital = Exploits the hard assets (Management, staff…) 

Social Capital = Knowledge asset development (Training, collaboration…) 

Social Capital investments in the enterprise enhance Human Capital exploitation of Physical Capital.

Social Capital Meets Web 2.0 in the Enterprise

"IBM Lotus Connections Integrated Social Software Platform for Business; Integrated Tagging, Blogging and Professional Networking Tools Bring the Power of Web 2.0 from the Consumer Realm to the Enterprise"

The "Consumerization of the Enterprise" Promise.

Lotus Connections facilitates the gathering and exchange of information through professional networks, provides a dashboard-like view of current projects and connects users to like-minded communities. Lotus Connections has five Web 2.0-based components -- Activities, Communities, Dogear, Profiles and Blogs -- that help business people quickly connect and build new relationships based on their individual needs. These components help users save time by making information previously qualified by others easily accessible. The pace of learning increases as users easily find and exchange ideas with experts across their organization. Since they have access to the experience of others, users can avoid making mistakes and duplicating tasks, saving time and improving the quality of their work.

Enterprise Web 2.0 “Collaborative Spaces Where (Business) People Can Interact” and Reach Out

Enterprise Tagging Bob Zurek is Director of Advanced Technologies with IBM Information Integration Solutions: It's a tag, tag, tag World! Enterprise Next...

Del.icio.us, Flickr, blogs, and more… we are clearly in the midst of a tag explosion on the internet especially as more people engage in folksonomy creation. Tagging has many benefits but one of the key value propositions for tagging is the ability to more easily associate relevant content in the context of executing a search. However, most of this social tagging has been done outside the enterprise firewall primarily driven by  communities of consumers. I predict that with the rise of social tagging outside the firewall, there will soon be a significant rise of social tagging inside the firewall. Essentially enterprise tagging.

The value of tagging, enterprise folksonomy creation and enterprise wide social bookmarking can be very significant to an enterprise. Frankly I believe it is a huge opportunity that will be building over the next 2 years! Recently, I’ve become particularly fond of using our internally developed social bookmarking solution called Dogear that is geared towards an enterprise user rather than a general consumer outside the enterprise firewall. What I find most useful about the Dogear project is how it delivers and surfaces relevant information on demand that my colleagues have tagged while I’m using a search engine. This tagged information, essentially the social bookmark is surfaced right along side my search results.

The value of the information from inside and shared by my colleagues has been very valuable. 


IBM Blogroll "Menus of expertise and insights from a passionate crowd"

Web 2.0 in 2007: Brands rule!, Ben Edwards, Director, IBM, New Media Communications.

IBM seeks to instill an internal “soft publishing” culture that is “liberal and permissive.” IBM is 380,000 professionals strong “within the firewall” and each professional is provided internal access to blogging, podcasting and wiki tools.

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FromWikipedia to YouTube, innovation today means collaboration and collective intelligence. Now IBMers can connect through new kind of social network for business and innovation.

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