O’reilly Radar reports that Yahoo! has made another acquisition in their drive to transform the company’s web properties into a Web 2.0 Ã¼ber-community. This time it’s the music playlist community Webjay created by Lucas Gonze.
I often hear people talking about how Yahoo! is buying up Web2.0, but i don’t think it’s just that. It’s not only about tagging, social bookmarking, sharing, etc. It’s about rethinking the innovation process when handling social technologies. Take a look at some of the characters recently hired/acquired – Caterina Fake, Stewart Butterfield, Joshua Schachter, Andy Baio, Cameron Marlow, Chad Dickerson, Tom Coates… These aren’t even your typical Web2.0 crowd – these are creatives with attitude who have no problem telling corporate what they think and pushing for changes that they feel are essential.
What is the glue that holds all these many seemingly disjointed pieces together (Flickr, del.icio.us, Webjay, etc.)? The people, first of all. People with innovative ideas and the drive to express them. What about from the perspective of the community member? Well, there’s authentication, something that Yahoo! can help unify. There’s commenting and discussion. And there is tagging.
A KM Digression
I had a conversation last week with Darryl, Randy and Kevin about tagging. Not the folksonomy-style tagging familiar in the Web 2.0 world, but old-school taxonomy. Specifically, how much emphasis structured taxonomy (i.e. tagging with a predefined vocabulary) should have in an enterprise knowledge management environment, and whether there is a place for folksonomy in such an environment.
People clearly “get” the value of tagging. As they use web sites like Flickr, del.icio.us and Last.fm, they see firsthand how tags add value on both a personal and a community level. The debate is whether free-form tagging can apply inside the corporate firewall. I believe there’s a place for both. Structured tagging (taxonomy via vocabulary) by knowledge managers; folksonomy tagging by everyone else. Imagine being able to see three levels of tag clouds: enterprise, community, and personal. At a glance you would see what matters most at each level. Color coding could make it more revealing. Corporate tags (vocabulary) gets green; community tags get grey; personal tags get blue.
Are you with me?