If you think this article is about breeding birds or any other species that lays eggs, then navigate back to the search results and pick another result to click on. The title is a metaphor for breathing life into a freshly produced Web 2.0 application or service. Because of my activities on twitter (No, I am not addicted, I can stop any time I want…) I got invited into test driving an early alpha version of a new social tool called Tyba.
After playing a little bit with Tyba, I tweeted (for non twitter-insiders: “to tweet” means “to publish a microblog item”, which is a blog item that contains no more than 140 characters) a few comments on it into the twitter community. I said that I like the idea behind Tyba and that it provides a simple and easy to use service. In another tweet I also said that I believed that given enough users, this new service could become very usefull.
With that, I wrote down the very essence of Web 2.0 and off course I got that echoed right back to me from the twitter community almost instantly (Duh!). The fact that this happened is exactly what I love so much about twitter: because of its simplicity you get instant feedback. And as it occurs, Tim O’Reilly seemed to be thinking the same thing only moments before me, which also reached me through Twitter. However, that is not the point I am trying to make.
My point is that besides the fact that a Web 2.0 application gets better the more people use it, breathing life into a new Web 2.0 application could require considerable effort. A successful Web 2.0 applications thrives because of the underlying data that is collectively provided by users. By the way, “thriving” does not necessarily mean the same as “profitable”. The popular social news service Digg has been thriving for quite some time, and now Digg’s founders are thinking about making it profitable too.
To borrow again from ornithology terminology: a freshly produced egg requires warmth and time to hatch. The amount of warmth and time depends on the species and the brooding process. But there is a sure-fire way to kick-start new Web 2.0 applications, and that is by building on top of existing data. In other words: a Mashup. Yes, a mashup is a parasite on the success of existing services. A good example of this is MrTweet, which provides the service of a personal networking assistant for Twitter users. It mines the existing database of Twitter through the Twitter API and advises you what influential other twitterers you should follow based on who other people in your own twitter network are following. Instantly useful. That egg hatched in no time! And it helps making Twitter even more effective. As in nature, parasites are essential for the viability of their hosts.
To come back to Tyba: this egg needs lots of cozy warmth and support from the community the creator of Tyba is part of. It also has its own API to attract the necessary parasites. I think I have done my share of warm support for Tyba with this post. Come on, give it a try, and while you are at it, rate this post using Tyba.