Web 2.0 Heroes

Sep 2, 2008 · 8 comments

in books

Today I came across a book at the library entitled “Web 2.0 Heroes: Interviews with 20 Web 2.0 Influencers”. Eagerly I picked it up, and scanned the names on the cover.

Hmm… not many there I actually recognize..

So I flipped open to the table of contents, and saw the products/services they represented. Stumble Upon, eBay, Ning, Technorati, DotNetNuke, Skype, LinkedIn… ah, there were some names I knew!

There is plenty of talk right now about personal branding and internet celebrity. Increasingly the line between a brand and a representative thereof appears blurred. Some may believe this is due to the fact that web 2.0 is commonly believed to be necessarily associated with individuals-

Web 2.0 is ultimately about harnessing network effects and the collective intelligence of user to build applications that literally get better the more people use them.
– the Web 2.0 Strategy Guide

So in an arena that facilitates the promotion of an individual’s personal brand, how are we (or how am I) not familiar with these names? Particularly in light of the fact they are being presented as ‘heroes’?

I will admit, I haven’t read the book, so perhaps what makes these individuals ‘heroic’ is explained. Yet I find it hard to believe that one can be heroic behind the scenes. Yes, heroic deeds involve effecting positive change, but I also believe that a hero is considered a role model, and I’m not sure this can be achieved without some level of recognition.

I suppose this is semantics, and I’m sure there are some insights to be gained through reading these interviews. I know I genuinely enjoyed the few chapters I read in Accidental Branding. Yet in accidental branding, the entrepreneurs were presented as ordinary people who did some great things. By setting the stage for this book to be talking about heroes, I can’t help but think they have plenty to live up to..

Who are your Web 2.0 heroes? I will admit, I didn’t stop to think about who I expected to see on the list before I picked up the book, but there are certainly different people I associate with Web 2.0. Leave me a comment with your picks!