April 18, 2009

Web 2.0 Adoption Curve, 2009-2015

A blueprint for social networking investments

Christopher S. RollysonWeb 2.0 and social networks have gained perceptible mindshare during the first quarter of 2009, and conversations with clients, fellow speakers at conferences and online conversations are clearly showing the reappearance of a familiar adoption curve. Here I’ll discuss the Adoption Curve for Web 2.0 and Social Networks and provide rough milestones, so you can use it to gauge your investments in Web 2.0. You can avoid some of the extremes that the majority of the market will experience.

In addition, I will also show how Web 2.0 provides a rare opportunity to develop competitive advantage ahead of the market.

Having been on the front lines of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting’s E-Business Strategy practice during Web 1.0 (the Internet bubble), I am not surprised to see the familiar bubble pattern developing, so this is a rare opportunity to recognize it and produce tremendous value by avoiding some of the mistakes most companies make when adopting disruptive technology.

What I want to draw your attention to is not the disruptive technology itself, but rather the market’s perception of the technology. The Web 1.0 bubble was caused by distorted perceptions of the technology, what it could do, and when it could produce value. Companies’ perceptions of the value it could deliver were unrealistic. However, the Internet has produced fantastic value; it just took longer than most people thought. Therefore, a rare opportunity presents itself: What if executives could understand the Web 2.0 Adoption Curve and make more realistic investments?

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