Jeremiah Owyang: It's Just the Economy

InsightaaS: Anyone with a background in social media is likely familiar with Jeremiah Owyang, who did seminal research on the topic when he was at Forrester, and left with colleague Charlene Li to form the Altimeter Group (which includes IT visionary Ray Wang) in 2008. Owyang continues to be one of the voices shaping perceptions on social media and related technologies today. In “It’s Just the Economy,” he notes that if attempts to infuse IT-enabled connections into the centre of the commercial world are successful, we won’t need a specific term to reference the role of the technology itself – instead, it will be an intrinsic component of ‘the’ (entire) economy.

People often ask me, “which term should I use?  the sharing economy? collaborative economy? the trust economy? or some other term?” I give my answer, but often remind them if we’re successful, it’ll just be called the Economy.

New movements naturally experience a period of exploration, debate, and adoption of new terms. Over time, the use those terms tend to fade away as other new terms are introduced.

About a decade ago, I was intimately involved in exploring the first phase of sharing, social media, from a business context. Today, ten years later, as the physical world is being shared more efficiently through technology, I’m observing similar patterns of change.

When we saw new types of media-sharing tools that didn’t require technical know-how emerge, it changed the game. We considered and used terms like: Web 2.0, Citizen Media, User Generated Content, Social Computing, Business Blogging, People Media, Social Media..

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