In 1543, a book called “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres)” was published, authored by Nicolaus Copernicus. He died with the first copy in his hands, having set in motion what would come to be known as the Copernican Revolution, the notion that the Earth was not at the centre of the universe.

I’m working on a comprehensive digital strategy for my company, funnily enough because that’s a big part of what I was hired to do. I’ve just drawn up a large diagram on the white board next to my desk (you guys remember white boards, right?) which had started by me writing the word “site” in a box in the corner and then putting things around it, with arrows going in all sorts of directions.

I did a core dump of ideas then stepped back to assess what was there, and see what I’d missed. The thing that leapt out at me though was purely accidental, yet hammered home something I had read plenty of but hadn’t actually understood until now. By putting my company’s site in the corner and expanding diagonally to the right, I had wound up with a white board full of scribbles, and at the core was a large box, inside it written “social media”.

As I looked at the diagram, I realised that only a handful of things had arrows pointing back to the site, but everything flowed to and from the social media box. And at that point I suddenly understood the notion of a de-centralised web, what that means for my company, other companies, and how that fits together. Makes me wonder if one day in the not too distant future companies will cease to have websites and will instead just have web-based applications that promote their services…food for thought.

For more on this, check out Jeremiah Owyang’s Web Strategy blog, it is a great piece of work.