Despite the occasional fuzz about Twitter, or Web 2.0 in general, lacking the ability to go mainstream, there are significant signs that Enterprise 2.0 in general is getting the attention of the enterprise more and more. Although many might argue that Enterprise 2.0 already is on the agenda of the manager, I would argue that this is still limited to a few enterprise early adopters or early followers. But as I said, this is changing slowly, which is a good sign for all of us. But we need to stay focused, as we might lose the connection with the important followers.

ross mayfield The state of Enterprise 2.0 and why we need new stories
Ross Mayfield and beer

About three weeks ago I visited a Dutch conference on Enterprise 2.0. This conference focused solely on end users of Enterprise 2.0 related tools and concepts, and was free of charge for these end users. Free of charge, in my opinion, resulted in an entirely different crowd than say the visitors of The Next Web Conference where mainly early adopters spend a fee to network and see their Web 2.0 heroes in action. So we ended up with a crowd that had relatively fresh interest in Enterprise 2.0, but limited knowledge and could in no way be compared to a crowd of early adopters.

What struck me again during the conference is that there is an enormous crowd that is just discovering the possibilities of Enterprise 2.0 related concepts. At this point, many of these participants know not much more about Enterprise 2.0 than “the application of some tools like wikis as knowledge management initiatives” (despite the fact that there is an entire different world behind this). At the same time, there is still skepticism about the ROI and applicability of Enterprise 2.0. I sometimes think that it’s a crowd that we as early adopters seem to lose sight of too often. In this sense, spending too much time with the ‘in crowd’ who ‘get’ Enterprise 2.0 can result in serious over-enthusiasm and ‘lack of realism’.

As a relatively early adopter, despite the interesting line-up including Ross Mayfield and Andrew McAfee, I didn’t hear much news at the conference. At first I felt disappointed about this, but after I realized the aforementioned point about over-enthusiasm, it hit me that we might have to focus for a while on getting the followers up to speed before we move on to the next web 3.0, or whatever version number we want to associate with what comes next. Otherwise we all might lose an important shot at truly socializing the Enterprise…