Web 2.0: It’s made of people

Stuart Butterfield of Flickr/Yahoo just quoted Ross Mayfield who quoted Soylent Green:

Web 2.0 is made of people.

So was Web 1.0, only they didn’t get it yet. But the truth is, they still don’t get it.

Yesterday, I’d had it with hearing content moguls talk about how all the value is in content and how they plan to use “user-generated content.” That means means they’re using users. That’s us.

So I got to the mic and said what many have said on blogs: that the phrase “user-generated content” makes our spines twist. We call it sharing. We call it conversation. They call it content. And they call us users.

It’s made of people.

This morning, I had a conference call with people about companies using blogs and making communities and I started singing the blog Internationale again.

And just now, John Heileman interviewed Vinod Khosla, the brilliant Kleiner VC, who said that the model “of top-down content is no longer relevant.” I wanted to cheer. He said he listens to the wisdom of the crowd in IMDB more than any one review. “I trust IMDB more.” He says that trust is central: “eBay has done a great job productizing trust by ratings sellers. I think that needs to happen more broadly.”

So I take to the mic again and ask where most of the value in what we now call media will be in five or 10 years: top-down or bottoms-up; content or distribution or trust. He says the future is not in controlling content but in “maintaining and growing audience…. in aggregating audiences in interesting ways.” He said the companies that will win will be “the most adaptable, not the biggest or the one with the most content.” He also said search hasn’t yet explored collaboration enough.

I’ll say it again (and again and again): Who wants to own content?

: Or see Web 2.1 whose new slogan is: “The point is people.”