Web2.0, overstating the hype?
I don’t want to get into whether a few interesting technologies can transform the most hidebound of organizations, or even if these 2.0 tools somehow are more important than nuclear power and weapons, the internal combustion engine, and airplanes as tools that can transform government. No, my question is whether these exaggerations, which are typical of pronouncements emanating from the heights of gurudom, are helpful or not.
One could argue that they are helpful because they motivate us to strive for greater impact from new technologies or management approaches. Perhaps they help us keep our “eyes on the prize.” Without such optimism, maybe the pressures of everyday life would keep us from ever accomplishing anything. Maybe people are just looking for something new and different—what’s objectionable about that?
On the other hand, this sort of techno-utopian argument could be harmful. It might lead, for example, to disenchantment with the technology when it doesn’t lead to the promised result. Companies and organizations might end up spending more on the technologies than their utility warrants. If gurus were ever held accountable for their proclamations (and they hardly ever are), it might also lower the credibility of all management experts.