Web 2.0 More Important Than Ever

Last Updated Oct 20, 2008 9:11 AM EDT

Babson College professor Tom Davenport has never been much of a fan of Web 2.0 social networking, and you can almost hear a sigh of relief when he writes on Harvard Business Publishing:

"Instead of finding more ways for us to all yap at each other, in this more sober economy we may want to emphasize other priorities. What new products and services will make for better, healthier lives and relationships? How can companies improve their performance? How can teenagers improve their math and science skills, instead of their texting skills?"

I think Davenport is wrong on this one. In fact, I'm convinced the opposite will happen.

This is just the kind of uncertain environment where people -- especially the generations younger than Tom and I -- want to stay in touch about job possibilities, exchange advice, share daily experiences. Just like after 9-11, folks want to expand connections with each other, not shrink them.

And as always, companies will be ready to serve customer needs. I for one am eager to see what innovations will come out today's headlines.

How about you? Does your Facebook status read: "Mary is permanently offline emphasizing new priorities"? Or are Web 2.0 communications services helping you keep sane in uncertain times?

  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.