Never forget that networks are everywhere. In fact, I have the feeling that anything that has relations with other things can be seen as being part of a network: the so-called social networks, phone networks, DNA networks, protein networks, subject networks, web pages networks, airport networks, street networks, etc, etc, etc.
“I would use Twine for recommendation alone, but the value of that feature is minimal until the service finds a large number of users. As it stands, that’s not likely to occur. When it comes to collective organization and discovery of content – nothing is as important as network effect.”
The problem I have with this sentence if that it makes me think that Marshall is saying that: network effect == people collaborating in a same, closed, system (à la Del.icio.us).
The key thing here is that a network effects can take place in many kind of networks, and in many places. So, does Twine or any other so-called semantic web application, need million of users to leverage (create value of) network effects of different kind of networks? I don’t think so.
Network effects will emerge from the interaction of different services, the linkage of different data sources, and the work of millions of people. Who will own all these things? The Web. Then businesses will leverage that Web, like they currently do, to create value for users.
So, is Twine, or any other so-called semantic web application, doomed because of their lack of a user base? I would guess no. It all depends on what network you’re talking about…