Web 3.0 and #ConnectingHR. Time to go offline…

[tweetmeme]We have had web 1.0, web 2.0 and inevitably you can now find PowerPoint decks a plenty talking about web 3.0.  Apparently, web 3.0 will all be about the ‘symantec’ web, which, to laymen like you and me means the ‘meaning of data’, intelligent searching and behavioural advertising.  Or as I like to call it, ‘personalisation on steroids’.  See here for a few definitions and presentations to flip through on your way home tonight.

Now I’m no guru.  And far be it from me to challenge the great and the good of the digital world but to me, web 3.0, or whatever we want to call the next phase, will be/is about something very different, something very fundamental and, perhaps surprisingly, not really about the web.

The more immersed in social media I become, the more I see a fundamental aspect of human behaviour coming full circle – the community.

The last time the word community featured so regularly in conversation was over 3 decades ago, when communities were thriving everywhere.  When you lived in one.  When you worshiped in one. When you were physically part of one.  There are many reasons for the erosion of the community – uncompromising personal ambition, crime, property ownership (Second homes in particular), reduced social/state support – hell even the internet has played its part, encouraging us to email rather than speak.  To hide behind a screen instead of tackling issues head on.

Web 2.0 brought the social web, the ability to connect.  The geekyness of chat rooms has now gone mainstream.  The benefits of connecting with people from different cultures, backgrounds, viewpoints has hit the world of work and the last 2 years have shown just how powerful it can be.  But in between all the tweets, the LinkedIn updates, the Facebook likes, I see the something else.

The need to be communal.  To share likes.  To discuss fears.  To be re assured.  And above all, the need to do this in person, face to face.

This hadn’t really occurred to me until we started the #ConnectingHR initiative and brought the interested parties together, face to face for a ‘tweetup’.  Here was an event, aimed at HR professionals who are not only well known for their general low levels of networking prowess, but also for their as yet, low level adoption of anything social mediaish. For many HR folk, Social Media is a policy issue and a corporate concern, not a fundemental part of the way they communicate.  To say we had low expectations of the first meeting would be an understatement.  As quite often happens though, things didn’t quite turn out that way.  See here for the feedback. Its safe to say we were genuinely staggered at the response to this initiative and in particular bringing the people together.

It was while contemplating the next #ConnectingHR tweetup that I started to sense this inertia, this need to take the social connections offline.  Just how it used to be.  And iIm convinced its going to grow.  Substantially.  Networking is not new.  Neither is meeting up.  But, somehow, social media has made meeting face to face easier.  Don’t ask me why, I cant explain it.  But the the content of the online conversations, the tone, the familiarity, the honesty all combine to create a new context when you eventually meet face to face.  It’s not like a normal networking meeting.  Its more…  familiar, honest, trusting.  More comfortable even.  Am I making sense?  Probably not!  But if you are actively getting involved in meeting with your online connections, you might just get what I’m saying.

As far as im concerned, you can keep your personalisation.  For me, web 3.0 is all about the physical web – the potential to enable and build real communities.  Just like they used to be.

If you are an HR professional and would like to join us at the next #ConnectingHR tweetup you can book your place here – http://connectinghr.eventbrite.com/

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