These technologies can make brand ambassadors off employees, customers and business partners by opening various marketing and advertising routes
Simply put, Web 2.0 is all about people and collective wisdom on faster and more interactive and impressive web pages. The internet used to be a medium to serve information; Web 2.0 exploits it as a source for opinions.
For businesses, this means reaching out to and involving with the whole ecosystem, particularly your users, at a high order of magnitude. Not just that, it also enables collaboration for improved productivity within the organizations.
Take Sun Microsystems, for instance. At their website, they have a whole section called Communities and Personals. It includes a regularly updated blog by CEO Jonathan Schwartz, along with blogs by thousands of Sun employees. The tag cloud (visual outlining of most talked about topics tagged under the same category) on the blog page gives a fair idea as to what they are talking about. It is a platform not only for them to communicate amongst themselves, but also to include customers and others interested in the conversation. This is also a great place to find networking opportunities as well as to do some soft marketing. We can see similar things at Accenture, where they have blogs, podcasts, and RSS. How are these websites different from many others? Clearly, these are enabling collaboration not just amongst insiders, but also with outsiders to create content, rather than just serving as a one-way information source.
According to McKinsey Global Survey on how businesses are using Web 2.0 (January 2007), it turns out that the interest level for investing in these technologies is highest in India. Further, the plans for such investments in an industry wise breakup has retail in the lead, followed by IT, telecommunication, financial services, and Pharmaceuticals.
What are the technologies that make this collaboration possible? These include some rather overwhelming terms such as Ajax, mashups and folksonomies, blogs, social networking, podcast, RSS, et al to name a few. These technologies are changing the way we organize and control content, create communities, execute searches, and create applications.
It is about communities
Web 2.0 is all about content, ideas, opinions, and such from the community. That means, along with a website, you also build a community. Now to build a community, there are various technologies under the umbrella of Web 2.0, which are easily implementable.
Wiki is one such element. In simple words, a wiki is a web application that allows users to add and edit content, directly from the web browser. The best example of a wiki is that of Wikipedia – a wiki that is a self-evolving encyclopedia like no other. Wikis can create a positive shift by having a constantly updated knowledge base. Since it is such a collaborative publishing mechanism, discussions can span across hierarchical and functional boundaries. This leads to a phenomenal degree of knowledge getting accumulated. It works as a quick, upto date and evolving reference point for everyone.
Then there are blogs – the platform for self-expression. The term blog has evolved from web-log; dairies maintained online. Since they are maintained online and are accessible by others, dialogue is possible between the author and the readers, leading to exchange of ideas, debates, dissemination and correction of viewpoints and much more.
Many such technologies lead to build a strong community – community forums, peer-to-peer networking, social bookmarking, podcasts… the list is endless. Businesses can use these platforms to interact with the entire ecosystem (partners, suppliers, customers, etc). They increase the level of interactivity, which can help garner new customers, provide better customer services, gather feedback etc.
Interactive, involving pages
Search has been one of the strong drivers of the evolution of the Web 2.0 phenomenon. With technologies like Ajax, search has become smarter and more responsive as well as intuitive. They are searching for content like never before. Ajax is a web development technique used for creating interactive applications that make web pages feel more responsive. By refreshing only the areas where a change occurs on a web page, and not the entire page, speed, and usability increases manifold. Similarly, widgets drive only the specific results from a web site to the user.
written by adamssite, January 19, 2009
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