What have the poster children of Web 2.0 been about? Consider some examples: Pictures, movies, hanging out, air travel, knitting, and sharing what you’re up to. In the context of a global economic meltdown, don’t these feel a little, well, frivolous? [This is part of the Tough Times series.]

The Web is useful. Let’s go out on a limb and agree that social networking is useful too. I think it’d be nice if, when money is tight, they were useful for life’s basics. Like, for example, saving money. On, for instance, groceries and fuel and rent and phone bills and child care and prescriptions and clothing and booze and auto repair.

Then, there’s help with problems: landlords and telephone companies and creditors and bosses and local councils.

Yes, I know that some of these offerings already exist, even though I don’t (for the moment) see them on the front pages of the Web 2.0 glamor aggregators. But I have to tell you, if I were an investor being pitched by bright young kids with a cool tech idea, I’d be looking for them to aim low.


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From: William (Oct 20 2008, at 01:36)

I agree with your post. I think that it is time to bring the Main Street web into reality. We need a place where there is a "Community" that can truly help one with daily struggles during these tough times

I m the founder of adelph.us. I grew up poor in United States, and I think that technology when used the right way can help us to lift each others boats.

Somethings about adelph.us

Some things about adelph.us

1. You are not a share cropper- Break the chains

2. Be a rebel

3. Change the game

4. Believe in the possibilities

5. Do good

6. At adelph.us “Open” means-

1. Whenever possible using Open Source applications

2. Whenever possible offering the hosted use of applications free of charge to members

3. Always writing code using existing Open Source standards that are not proprietary or owned by a company ie (Face Book and the rest)

4. Empowering the community (Individuals, Groups, Non Profits, and Companies) with tools that help them to save time and resources

5. Evening the playing field

6. Giving back to the community

7. Giving back to Open Source

8. You control all access of your account

9. You control all access to your content

7. You have the right to control the conversations that you have with Companies

1. You have the right to choose the who, what, when, and where of this conversation

2. Companies must contribute to the community before they can be included in any conversation

3. Whenever possible the entire community should benefit from these conversations

8. You control your account -

1. We will never give your personal data to any third parties without your permission

2. You have control over who has access to your profile information

3. You have control over who has access to your content

4. At anytime you are free to delete your account

5. When you delete your account it is cleared from our Database


From: Richard Lingard (Oct 20 2008, at 09:00)

You're absolutely right - we need to get a little less frivolous and start to APPly the apps we're building to everyday life. There is so much that apps can offer, introducing a whole swathe of the world's population to each other - and when we share everyday problems, we can solve everyday problems.

We need to look up from our laptops, PDA's and mobiles and see what we can do to help.


From: Steve Yost (Oct 20 2008, at 13:41)

The Web 2.0 label makes us forget about all the old-school ways to communicate in groups: mailing lists, web-based bulletin boards, etc. Why specialize?


From: Elaine Nelson (Oct 21 2008, at 09:19)

As someone who works in web for a financial institution, I'm seeing a lot of financial web 2.0 services coming across the radar. The Finovate events (http://www.finovate.com/) are a good place to spot up-and-comers, as far as I can tell.

Personally, I have a soft spot for Wesabe (http://www.wesabe.com/) which does the social as well as the personal. Social + finances is tricky. There's a lot of taboos around talking about money, for one thing, and for another, getting financial data into a web service is a serious proposition.

Plus there's a whole corner of the blogosphere that's focused around personal finance & getting out of debt. Get Rich Slowly (http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/) is a pretty good place to start IMHO.

I wonder if some of the DIY-oriented web 2.0 spaces will have a special relevance in a difficult financial environment. If sweaters or food from China get more expensive, will it make sense to use something like ravelry or folia (http://myfolia.com/) as a practical matter, rather than just as a hobby? (Folia, I'm noticing, has a seed/plant-swapping feature. Nice.)


From: Tim O'Reilly (Oct 25 2008, at 01:18)

Tim -

I've been giving a similar "tough times" message, but with the core thought-line: "Work on stuff that matters."

That being said, entertainment typically does flourish during a downturn. The golden age of cinema began in the Great Depression.


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