Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Viva la Revolution! But Which One...?

In my opinion, many people misunderstand what is meant by the term 'Web 2.0'. Despite the phrase having reached 'buzzword' status in recent years, it is questionable whether or not those using the term actually understand its meaning. One of the most notable deficiencies of the public understanding of web 2.0 is the belief that the term refers exclusively to a mystical technological revolution that happened in the early 2000's, shaping society as a corollary. This common misconception is understandable, but is essentially backwards in its focus. You see, it wasn't the technologies that instigated the resultant social revolution; it was a social revolution that lead to the demand for enhanced levels of connectivity.

Whilst web 1.0 is generally agreed to represent the first generation of web based communications, web 2.0 was a corollary of changing societal demands for connectivity. Whilst the resultant technologies were undoubtedly the product of developing demands, they do not represent a revolution in themselves. Essentially, the revolution in question has involved communications shifting from one-directional to two-directional; a shift which has left many a traditional organisation feeling powerless in an increasingly collaborative economy. Whilst recent developments have invariably been facilitated by web communications technologies, the success thereof always has been highly dependent upon ongoing customer interest and demand. As interest therein begins to ebb, so too will the success of these tools.

The reason for this post is simply to highlight an important organisational rule which should not be forgotten; don't get too caught up in the technologies themselves, these will, without fail be superseded. Recognise instead, that customer engagement remains all important. Create a presence only within those platforms in which a presence is demanded by the customer. An unnecessary presence in each will invariably stretch the organisation’s resources beyond capacity, and the subsequent value of the content will invariably be compromised. A strong understanding of the customer, matched by a desire to engage them in a manner which they would deem appropriate will undoubtedly assist in the development of an appropriate organizational social media strategy.

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