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  1. 2006/09/16 Meeup with Charlene Li (1)

Meeup with Charlene Li

Other | 2006/09/16 16:04 | Web 2.0 Asia
Yesterday we had a meetup here in Seoul with Charlene Li of Forrester Research. About 10 people from Korea's leading IT firms such as Naver, SK Telecom, and Samsung showed up. Slightly disappointing was the notable lack of startup people. But not so fast though - at least one guy is soon leaving his cubicle nation to join a startup. Heheh.

I won't get into Charlene's career achievements and bios here (hey, the space is quite limited here :-) But I can surely attest she's a power blogger who gets quoted a lot. She also said she's a "Silicon Valley Mom" - moms that talk to each other with blackberries. Interesting.

Discussions centered around the social computing, especially blogging. I threw in some of the questions that had been bugging me, and here are the opinions from Charlene and the rest of audience.

How can blog tools describe the blogger more effectively? Today most blogging tools do not have a rigid, built-in identity system. As a result, it's often difficult to picture the blogger as a whole person. Currently the closest thing to the identity system is "About Me" post, which is completely optional and might not reflect the blogger's real self: A girl might adopt a fake identity and blog as a man (not that such practice is wrong).

So what's the solution? Going the Myspace or Facebook way (ie. proprietary ID systems for each service) is not a good option because it will give the users tens of profiles, all siloed. But then open IDs such as People Aggregator may not be the best option here either, since people might be reluctant to submit their same IDs to all the services. So there was not so much of a final conclusion, but one thing was clear - the ID and profile system of blogs will have to enable users to reflect their chosen self (whether that be real or fake or whatever) very effectively.

How can blogs foster social networking? Blogs by definition are not social networking tools; They are content management tools. Given that, how can blogs successfully foster social networking? Charlene admitted there have not been many success cases and therefore enabling social networking among bloggers can present good business opportunities.

I think an example given by Charlene can present a good lead to the solution. She mentioned a "mommy blog" being written by about 40 moms together. If the blog is a content tool, then why not foster community based on the content? We're talking about a federation of like-minded bloggers together participating in the "We-blog", whenever such needs arise. Loosely coupled individual bloggers who might form content-based, special-purpose communities on the fly. Food for thought.

Can blogs enable social commerce? Charlene said "whenever it comes to social commerce, Kaboodle rules." I'll go check it out again. (There was one other site she mentioned but I forgot)

Why is blog still not mainstream? It depends on the definition of blogs. If we mean text-based professional blogs, then obviously not many people would have enough caliber and/or time to write good pieces. But if we mean things like Myspace or MSN Spaces, everyone's using them, so those are fairly mainstream. My thinking: Traditional blogging tools will have to better support multimedia. Increasingly, Gen Yers will just put up a camera phone picture rather than writing long pieces - it's their way of blogging.

Can Korean or Asian Web 2.0 companies go global? Sure. All it takes? Get TechCrunched.

All in all, I very much enjoyed the conversation with Charlene and also would like to thank Mr David Kim of Forrester Korea for all the hospitalities. I will soon start seeking the speakers for the next year's Web 2.0 conference Korea. Charlene, you will hear from me soon. :)
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