For may of us, the recession is not over. In fact, it’s still in full swing. Unemployment may hit 11% this month and 17% are underemployed. Just in case you’re wondering what underemployment looks like – think of a PhD serving you food at your favorite eatery. I’m wondering if all this “good news” is pushing us towards Jeremiah Owyang’s 5th era of social web – social commerce: communities define future products and services. This is already happening in some sense as evidenced by Icelantic skis; putting themselves in the customers shoes. The only difference is that a business is collaborating with customers to create the product. Owyang’s definition is more about peers with intent creating a product/service.

The reasons for/signs of this are

  1. Economic necessity
  2. An increase in democracy in the work place
  3. The emergence of the employee brand and the continuing evolution of the personal brand
  4. Increasing number of niche social networks (via Twitter lists, etc)

I believe number four is key and frankly can exist just about anywhere. Facebook group, Twitter List, or a site specific to people’s interests such as Brighton Robotics. “Now that we’ve have found a community with a common social object – let’s do do something. Let’s build something.” That will be the thought behind the social commerce.