There is no doubt that the social web has become a staple of modern society. With this maturity comes change. Just as the automobile industry underwent massive consolidation once some common practices were established around manufacturing, Web 2.0 has seen massive consolidation around functionality like tagging, profiles, news - now inherent to the social web. This is witnessesed in a series of statistics highlighted in Niall Harbison's recent post "The Decline of Web 2.0".
The power of "Low Friction Interaction" drives user behavior. Users have voted with their web traffic and it makes more sense to supply functionality within the most used platforms (e.g. Facebook), rather than spend time on disparate systems.
It is human nature to gravitate toward functionality available in context with the lowest barrier to usage possible. Let's look at two common examples that illustrate the power of "low friction interaction", then tie it back to why we care about this in our Enterprise.
Low Friction Masterpieces
1. iTunes - iTunes is a premier example of low friction interaction. Apple has made the purchase of music on iTunes so easy that the actual cost of use surpasses obtaining pirated materials. In order to search for, download and verify materials from free sources, it actually ends up costing more in time and effort. iTunes is intuitive, comprehensive and provides a complete platform to supply music.
2. Factory Installed GPS - I have a Garmin GPS. I no longer use this GPS due to a GPS that is provided within my car. The GPS in my car is arguably a bit more difficult to use, but requires zero setup time, is always on and I do not have to hide it after I have parked my car. The net result is a more enjoyable overall experience, due to less work.
Enterprise 2.0 Lessons from Web 2.0
In context functionality at 80% maturity is better than out-of-context functionality at 100% maturity
Start thinking about consolidated platforms to provide both social and application integration functionality. The Gartner Generation 7 Portals: Unifying the User Experience report highlights this.
Revisit Information Architecture initiatives to see what can be done to enhance access to services on your current platform
Web 2.0 has given birth to a wide range of innovation in the way we communicate and work. As outside observers our enterprises can learn a lot on the basis of consolidation currently occurring on the commercial web.