Does Web 2.0 mean that IT matters more now than ever?

In Wikinomics blog Brendan Peat writes

In the past Don Tapscott and Nicholas Carr have debated on numerous occasions the topic “Does IT Matter”. At the FASTforward 08 conference Andrew McAfee made an interesting comment on how Web 2.0 tools and technologies mean IT will become a more powerful point of differentiation


Look at some of the mainstays in the Web 2.0 suit of technologies – wikis, blogs, social networks, tags, RSS, predictive markets. The collaborative, social, user generated nature of these tools makes it almost impossible to duplicate the value from one organization to another. Sure, technically speaking it’s simple to install and configure Web 2.0 tools, but when you are talking about information technology, getting the information into those tools is an art form. This means that organizations that can leverage Web 2.0 technologies will gain competitive advantage based on the skill in which they use those technologies.

[From Sorry Carr, Web 2.0 tools mean that IT matters more now than ever]

My interpretation of this is that, yes IT definitely matters , if we by IT mean everything which helps us communicate with each other and help us organize everything. If we on the other hand by IT mean the information systems and PC-networks that many company’s refer to as IT, then I give Carr right.

The point is that Web 2.0 and the next generation of IT tools supports the individual and social aspects of organization – exactly the opposite of what the most corporations and their IT-departments want to achieve today.

This means that IT (with the broad all inclusive definition) will mean everything and IT (with the more narrow corporate definition) means nothing. But more importantly: the IT department doesn’t matter anymore.

Maybe Carr should write a new revised edition of his book with a slightly adjusted name?

One thought on “Does Web 2.0 mean that IT matters more now than ever?

  1. I have recently entered the IT working environment. In many ways I was trained for this position at the community college level as a mechanical engineering technician. my job is insignificant (in that all it really takes is the ability to stay awake as tens of thousands of tiff files are created), but I am working at the front lines of a possible web 2 created entity. Maybe a more accurate description would be to say what is needed is a web 2 application built out of the web 1 process I am using.

    “The point is that Web 2.0 and the next generation of IT tools supports the individual and social aspects of organization”
    This is so true of my situation today. I am in the social network of craftsman who are losing the ability to pass on the implicit information as they have in the past. I think much of this has to do with the destruction of the hierarchy system in today’s corporate foundations. Before the craftsman was protected from losing the source of its wealth (implicit information) by the hierarchy sysetm itself. There were clear line the craftsman followed that enabled him or her to pass on this information, while still retaining wealth. Those above held-down the friction causing exchange of implicit and explicit information.

    Today the social structure is being created by resources going to those who have resources, while those without resources are having even those resources they have taken away.

    What is happening, in some small way, is that the implicit knowledge of the craftsman is not being transferred into explicit detail. The system doesn’t recognize implicit resources, only explicit and these implicit instructions need to be captured by a web 2 application. In other words, web 2 is the dividing line between implicit and explicit information.

    The craftsman is untrusting of the IT person, perhaps rightly so, and the IT person is only really looking for more resources to build his or her team up. The IT person is not uncaring or uninformed about the wealth the craftsman represents, but there really is no system in place that explicitly sets out the rules of the social interaction between implicit an explicit exchange of information. Implicit information represents an undefined potential; explicit information represents a defined potential.

    sorry about this rather long posting and I can only imagine what a time you will have in converting this into some kind of language you understand, ha!

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