Reflections on Web 2.0 Expo

Last October I toured the expo associated with O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 Conference, and had the chance again this week. Somehow, it didn’t feel as vibrant. Still, there were some interesting developments.

A couple of companies were there who I talked about last time, including Blue Kiwi (who I didn’t visit this time) and Vignette (who I did visit, unintentionally). I was talking to OpenText for quite awhile before it came up that they’d acquired Vignette! Naturally, their DNA is content management, but user- generated content is content, after all. I also talked to Social Text, seeing if they supported user-generation of video (no).

Also, I’d been pinged by the CEO of MangoSpring via the social software for the conference (which didn’t obviously give me a way of pinging back!?!?), so I stopped by the booth for their product, Engage. Which has the predictable mix of capabilities and is (at least initially) totally internally focused.

The internal focus was refreshing, because much of the expo felt marketing focused, without much focus on the ClueTrain of a two-way authentic discussion.

I also was intrigued to see Microsoft showing the Fuse team rather then SharePoint. Fuse seemed to be largely developing internal social media capabilities (enhancing Outlook) and some developer interfaces, but apparently also do some customer work. They were also touting a beta of accessing Microsoft Office docs collaboratively through FaceBook. Trying to counter Google Docs, I reckon, but will FaceBook appeal to the biz crowd?

One of the questions I was asking was about tracking the potential benefits of social media in the enterprise, particularly the outcomes of informal learning: rate of problem solving, products and services generated, etc. Engage has, like Spigit, an idea tool, but no one had a clear answer. Likely it will have to be developed for the group being supported (tho’ I’d like a more generic one if I could).

Nothing earth-shattering, some maturation, still a bit of hype but some more reasoned approaches overall.

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