Today's food for thought
Grandparents destroying the media

Is social a bubble? On web 3.0, web 4.0 and Vendor Relationship Management (VRM)

“Social” is a bubble. Trust me on this. I urge all consultants on “social ______” (fill in the blank) to make hay while the sun shines. Even as the current depression deepens, lots of companies are starting to realize that this “social” thing is hot stuff and they need to get hip to Twitter and the rest of it. (Just ask the Motrin folks.)

"And it is hot. But much of that heat is relative to its absence in other areas. “Social” has sucked a lot of oxygen out of the online conversational room. Meanwhile, here’s the challenge: make the Net personal. Make relationships personal. Equip individuals with tools of independence and engagement. That’s what VRM is about," says Doc Searls, go read the full post on how VRM is personal here.

Check out this page if you're unfamiliar with the term Vendor Realtionship Management (VRM), which Doc, one of the authors behind Cluetrain, and others think will be the next big thing.

I was privileged enough to be able to attend a VRM meeting with Doc in London back in February, and it's very exciting stuff: the aim is to radically shift the balance of power between vendors and customer in favour of the customer and give the individual more control over his or her relations with companies online. Adriana explains more here and here.

The reason I mention web 3.0 and web 4.0 in the title is that I half-jokingly suggested to Jude that perhaps web 4.0 is about VRM, after she posted this hillarious take on web 4.0 (from 2006) on Twitter. I've only recently been learning a lot more about web 3.0, and though I'd be exaggerating if I said I grasp all its implications, it strikes me as something that will give the individual less control, not more, though perhaps I'm just getting too hung up in the privacy implications.

A quick google search on web 4.0 also throws up Seth Godin's musings on web 4.0, which seems to be a few steps further down the line web 3.0 or the semantic web takes us, making web services even more "intelligent" in terms of giving us relevant recommendations, making the web even more social, but at the same time increasing the privacy concerns plentifold.

So I wonder where VRM fits into all of this, if we should assign it a number in the stage of the web's development or if it will be part of next stage and develope alongside it. As we get more and more "intelligent" web services, will there be a backlash? An urge to wrest back control, to at least be able to better control access, privacy settings, control over our own content and electronic footprints? I'm just thinking out loud here, input and thoughts on this appreciated....

On equipping customers to be independent leaders, this struck me as a very powerful image though it's not taken from a VRM context, but from this presentation.



How about '________ Relationship Management'? You can fill in the blank with Customer, Vendor, Social, Government, Medical, etc., etc.
It's about relevant conversations driven by the individual 'under their control, with their consent, for their benefit'.
See for my views on Personal Relationship Management.

I think you gotta understand that Web 3.0 is more about open databases and properly formatted data. Think, instead of a wikipedia with a biography of a person, it can provide applications (and other webpages) the date the person was born. <- Data readable wikipedia <- application in two way relationship with dbpedia

Now - how would it previously be possible to create an application with a slider where you can zoom into any point in history and see who in literature was alive and get them jotted down on a map? That's web 3.0

I don't think it is a privacy issue at all. Perhaps only a privacy issue for the companies that hold an iron fist around their databases as if it was made out of gold.

Social is really nothing more than a slow realization by companies that the internet is made out of people and not consumers. And having worked on CRMs I was amazed that our homebuilt system had capabilities that very few others had, even if it was a simple webbased system. This is because CRMs in general are stuck in the pre web era and has web systems tacked on as an after thought with the insight of a marketoid.

VRM seems really to be about moving CRM to web 2.0 - but since it can't easily be centralized (such as twitter and facebook) you need a non-existant interface. The sharing of the above databases is something companies won't easily happen. You know yourself how pissed of the entire media industry became when google news scraped articles. Now get even more conservative people to cooperate on an interface for sharing all their internal data. Even the simplest form of data of this kind is sold at great expense. This interface might indeed be web 4.0, more likely 5.0, because it is such a pipe dream.

I feel this is like the discussions on the semantic web in 2002 when such great examples as those i posted above were pipe dreams. I just can't think this will happen soon without a killing app as a precursor. And it has to be free!

Sorry if I'm rambling - but this day is.

Thanks for the input guys. I'm still chewing on this

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