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The shift from social media to semantic web

May 25, 2008

This weekend was quite exciting with both businessweek and NYT examining, from 2 different angels, the relationship between a matured web (2.0) to it’s next stage, the semantic web.  

In an interesting move, Marc Fron, CTO OF NYT announced the company’s plans to release an API to allow users to create a ‘mash up’ of information. Aaron Pilhofer, editor of interactive news was quoted in that the purpose is to “make the NYT programmable. Everything we produce should be organized data.” This is definitely a move to not only embrace social media tools, but also to exercise with creating a more intelligent web.

Businessweek has come out with a cover that looks back to their 2005 report on the blog frenzy: Beyond Blogs. ‘we were wrong’ businessweek essentially say, ‘the blog frenzy turned out to be something a lot bigger than we thought – it’s the social media madness’. it’s nice of them to ‘admit’ a mistake, though a bit surprising that they are covering this now in their print version – now, when they have already quite extensively covered a lot of web 2.0 elements in online version; when social media has already reached its peak ; when the industry has already accepted web 2.0 as ‘the norm’ and is moving to the next thing – semantic web.

This article however raises an interesting question: is social media dying/dead?

Well, to me, just like anything else in life, social media is transforming rather than ‘dying’. Social media has now reached a peak. A new user behaviour was learned, and people will not be able to ‘go back’ to their old behaviour of being ‘passive’ with their web interaction. They may have calmed down with their obsession around this ‘new thing’, but this trend is merely settling down.

Social media is becoming a mature(er) ‘trend’, about to finish its exciting lifecycle stage, to become a day-to-day tool used as part of any site, rather than a product by itself (i.e. facebook). The industry is now focusing on interpreting the semantic web/web 3.0, and what it means to them/us/the web. it’s a top-down/bottom-up exercise (did I hear anyone says ANT?) – industry wise (with users and major players dialogue) and individual comapny wise (with top down to bottom up dialogues). This means a ‘smarter’ web 2.0, just like web 2.0 was to web 1.0 – evolution based on past behaviour, not a transition based on replacement.

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