Web 2.0 Concepts, Social Software and Business Models

Web 2.0 Concepts, Social Software and Business Models

Matthes Fleck (University of St. Gallen - mcminstitute, Switzerland), Andrea von Kaenel (University of St. Gallen - mcminstitute, Switzerland) and Miriam Meckel (University of St. Gallen - mcminstitute, Switzerland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch119
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Abstract

This article provides an overview of the most prominent definitions, basic concepts and applications of the term Web 2.0. In addition to the seven principles outlined by O`Reilly, this article will investigate Anderson’s long tail concept, issues of transparency and the effects of an interconnected user base on E-Business. Later, the focus will shift from the concepts of Web 2.0 towards the social software applications of this new Web era. Blogs, social network sites, wikis, folksonomies and virtual worlds will be explained and their (potential) relevance to e-business will be outlined. The article closes with a brief discussion about the future research directions of Web 2.0 for successful E-Business.
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Introduction

The Internet has become a social catalyst of great importance. In particular, the term Web 2.0 represents a wide range of changes which are worth investigating, specifically with respect to their influence on E-Business. Although Web 2.0 has technical connotations, it describes, first and foremost, the social dynamics of the Internet (Hoegg, Meckel, Stanoevska-Slabeva, & Martignoni, 2006). In its essence, the term Web 2.0 describes the evolution from a read-only Web to a read-write Web (Warr, 2008).

Coined by Tim O`Reilly (2005, 2006), the term Web 2.0 was used to describe developing forms of web-based co-operation and data exchange. Later, Web 2.0 became a generic expression for the fundamental changes of the Internet. The concepts and ideas of mass collaboration (Tapscott & Williams, 2006), collective intelligence (Albrycht, 2006; Surowiecki, 2004), knowledge exchange (Haythornthwaite, 2005a), boundless democracy (Rheingold, 2002) and the integration of niche offers and remote corners (Anderson, 2006) had been outlined previously by Web 1.0 visionaries. The development of Web 2.0 made possible the interaction and communication of users through the production and exchange of information based on platforms such as Weblogs (Blood, 2004; Schmidt, 2007), social networks (boyd & Ellison, 2007), social bookmarking sites (Golder & Huberman, 2005, 2006), wikis (Spinellis & Louridas, 2008) and virtual worlds (Louie, 2007). These new technologies allowed the creation, modification and distribution of almost every imaginable kind of digital content and led to new social and economic phenomena. The current article investigates the most relevant concepts and platforms of Web 2.0 as well as provides an overview of social software and its (potential) uses within E-Business.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Folksonomy: Folksonomies are collections of collectively created and managed metadata about digital content by a process called collaborative Tagging based on (Golder & Huberman, 2005), and (Golder & Huberman, 2006).

Long Tail: The long tail concept developed by Chris Anderson describes the fact that products in the Internet can be offered with low marginal costs. This leads to a broad variety of niche offers and fulfillment of almost any user demand based on (Anderson, 2006), (Brynjolfsson et al., 2003), and (Enders et al., 2008).

Wiki: A Wiki is Web-based software which allows all visitors of a Website to edit its content. This makes them easy-to-use, browser-operated platforms that enable collaborative work on text and hypertexts in the Internet based on (Ebersbach & Glaser, 2005).

Crowd Wisdom: Crowd wisdom is a concept popularized by James Surowiecki based on the assumption that the aggregation of information in groups results in much better results than those based on a single member of the crowd based on (Surowiecki, 2004), and (Warr, 2008).

Blog: Weblogs or blogs for short are online publications that are characterized by short entries which are usually written in an expressive and authentic style and are arranged in reverse chronological order. The comments and links on all blogs in existence on the Internet form a clustered network termed the blogosphere based on (Schmidt, 2007), and (Zerfass & Boelter, 2005).

Social Network Sites: Social network sites are Web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system (boyd & Ellison, 2007).

Virtual Worlds: Virtual worlds are massive multiplayer online games (MMOG) which are either massive multiplayer online role-play games (MMOPRG) or unstructured worlds called multi-user environments (MUVE) based on (Mennecke et al., 2008).

Web 2.0: Web 2.0 embodies a network of services and individuals in which content and knowledge, as well as social contacts, are created, edited and managed with low technical and social barriers fostering new kinds of social interaction, creativeness and economic activity.

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