Five Words to Describe the Social Web

Last Updated May 19, 2010 6:26 AM EDT


A while ago, I was asked to describe the 'social Web' in just five keywords.

Here are the five tags I've chosen to summarise it:

  • Disclosure: The social web is about changing the way we communicate. It is therefore about transparency and stating clearly who you are, what you do and who your work for.
  • Openness: In my eyes, this is one of the essential qualities required for those wanting to use the social Web for business. It requires that you give away your "secrets", and share openly. A Creative Commons licence is key. (All the principles explained by Seth Godin in "Unleashing the Ideavirus".)
  • Collaboration: In the etymological sense of the term, from Latin's cum laborare (to work together), that is to say that all users become contributors; UGC is at the heart of the social (and even non-social) Web.
  • Quid pro quo: The social Web and collaboration are about exchanges online and offline. Collaboration takes place when people share things together.
  • Mutual benefit: Collaboration implies that all contributors benefit from the common work. This is crucial because in the social web, there should be no winners and losers, just winners. If you don't believe in that, maybe the Social Web is not made for you, and the fact that it's fashionable isn't really important (see Godin's "Meatball Sundae").
(Picture: seeminglee, CC2.0)


  • Yann Gourvennec

    Yann Gourvennec is head of internet and digital media at Orange Business Services. He is in charge of the international operator's websites and blogs. and has been in marketing and innovation for over 20 years.