Exploring Motivation for Web 2.0

Even though it’s the interim between finishing a submission for Enterprise 2.0 and starting another one, I’m still compelled to write a blog. To continue the theme of previous blogs exploring Enterprise 2.0 adoption, I’d like to explore why contributors do what they do.

Being a long time member of www.smashboards.com, I’ve seen people collate and research ludicrous amounts of data about the video game the forum is based around. Data that requires sophisticated recording software and techniques, as well as community developed tools, all just for credit. Even I’ve put in to help manage and maintain resources for the sake of being helpful to the community.

People seem to have an incessant desire to make a mark. People have knowledge, useful knowledge, and they wish to be recognised as being the person who contributes that knowledge, disseminates it amongst the masses. It’s not unlike the scientific community, where research papers are published and scientists are granted credit, which in turn leads to greater roles and better resources.

This is where Web 2.0 can begin to differ. Web 2.0 grants us the knowledge of the crowd, multiple users coming together and creating a resource. Wikipedia is a prime example. Buckman writes that ‘Like scientific communities, contributors to Wikipedia seek to collaboratively identify and publish true facts about the world’. However, Wikipedia articles don’t finish with any creditation to its writers.

Instead, contributions to Wikipedia are linked to you. You’re able to prove your worth merely by contributing to what is already available. Wikipedia contains a system allowing authors to talk and discuss different articles, leading them to being to recognise community leaders and top contributors. These people can even go on to become administrators given enough community support.

Similarly, www.smashboards.com has a post count displayed under your name and avatar next to every post you make. As well as this, custom user titles and user groups are assigned to users as their participation is recognised. This, along with a public view of your contributions helps sustain a sense of achievement as users contribute to the forum.

Humans, with their inherent desire to achieve some level of greatness or accomplishment, will contribute as a user of Web 2.0 without much more incentive than mere recognition. The issue with Enterprise 2.0, is finding a way to translate that desire into something people are willing to integrate with their work.

I’ll admit that some of my blogs lately have been more abstract, and this is probably one of them. In the coming week I plan on blogging about some Enterprise 2.0 platforms in addition to the weekly activity for INB346. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Anthony Smith

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