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Sunday, June 3, 2007

From closed to open

If Web 1.0 is about information authoring, then Web 2.0 is about information sharing (1).

This change is evidential when we look at the climate of information representation: from FAQs to forum discussion, from personal homepages to personal blogging, from closed-development to open-source movement, from categorizing to tagging, from trees to wikis.

In other words, from closed to open.

Being open is a good thing. A prime example is opensource development. You initiate an idea and concept, and a whole world of developers is available to improve and improvise on it (2). IBM reaps the benefits of open-developing their Eclipse platform as a successor to their VisualAge family of products.

In the world of knowledge, Wikipedia became statistically evaluated to be as accurate as Encyclopedia Brittanica, eclipsing Brittanica’s once dominant sovereign in the world of knowledge (3).

In the world of business, corporations open up their communication channels and invite the whole world for discourse. Blogs like the Google Blog, Adobe blog and Microsoft’s Channel 9 created two-way communication channels, and thus benefits, with the users. Web users learn the insider tips on different companies’ products and services, and the companies in turn gain tremendous amount of user feedback on their betaware with very little upfront investment.

Interactive agencies see blogging as a free PR device to influence the industry. Organic has Three Minds, Frog Design has the Frog Blog. I find myself reading these quite a bit to learn where the industry is going and how different companies are utilizing upcoming technology to do amazing things.

In turn, I noted that while I took note of Razorfish in the early days (~1997) via the RSub–the Razorfish lab that sells company merchandise and all kinds of ‘experimental’ ideas that their employees create–it appears that the same business model of social marketing has now transformed to corporate blogging.

References / Citations

  1. Inspired via discourse with Tom Nicholson.
  2. Via discourse with Adam S. Kirschner.
  3. CNet | Study: Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica by Daniel Terdiman, 2005-12-15


  1. This is a very crucial idea. "From closed to open" affirms the significance of the academic enterprise. Knowledge (discipline) is possible only when there is conversation among scholars. The same principles are critical for any attempt in knowledge pursuit.

  2. Of course being open is a good thing, and I (in my past life) always encouraged clients to be open, direct, and honest with their users and/or customers. The thing is that some clients have a real business need for a certain amount of security, privacy, or secrecy, as do some of their users.

    In my case, I worked with a lot of banks who for legal and other reasons had to withhold or delay certain kinds of information. Similarly, I would not, for example, ask Google to reveal their algorithm publicly–that would be bad not only for them but for users as well, considering that black-hat SEO types would take advantage of the information to everyone’s detriment.

    So the question becomes, where do you draw the line? My instinct is always to be as open as possible, but that “as possible” can be very different in different cases.