These inflated expectations aren’t just the media’s fault. Venture capitalists looking for quick returns hype their latest investments. Even the investors’ consulting firms like Gartner themselves, I might suggest, risk placing too much emphasis on finding The Next Big Thing. "I think there’s a lot of truth in that," Fenn told Crikey, before reassuring us that Gartner tries to iron out the Peak and Trough. "It’s the collective bandwagon effect that makes the whole phenomenon so dangerous," Fenn says. "If you are trying to dive in and extract the value from these phenomenon, it is very much about timing ... Just be aware that just because everybody’s talking about it, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you right now ... When the trough comes, actually if you’ve done your homework, you don’t have to abandon it because it’s unfashionable. Maybe for you there is real value." Gartner predicts that it’ll be two to five years before Twitter, or whatever microblogging services supplant it, reach mainstream adoption in the enterprise. "This isn’t so much for the consumer use, which is clearly almost mainstream for a lot of users who use it for their daily business," says Fenn. "When companies try to adopt these technologies, it ends up being a lot slower." The participatory, peer-to-peer tools of Web 2.0, however, are starting their way up the Slope of Enlightenment. It’s therefore the perfect time for the federal Government 2.0 Taskforce to be running its Road Shows and seeking community input. "Actually for the government, it’s probably a very appropriate place to be and to be moving," Fenn says. "There’s certainly not your total understanding about what this means ... There’s a handful of great examples, but figuring out how to leverage that more broadly will take a much longer time."
From hype to backlash, Twitter’s path is inevitable
The Hype Cycle for 2009 places microblogging services like Twitter at the start of their descent into the Trough of Disillusionment -- along with green IT and e-book readers, where they’ll join public virtual worlds like Second Life and online video.