Friday, October 13, 2006

Is It Time for B2B to Get Wiki with It?

You’ve probably heard the term Web 2.0 lately. It’s a term that’s sweeping the nation. But what is it? Did Al Gore invent it? Do I need a password? The answer is no – chances are you already use it and didn’t even know.

“Web 2.0 has become a catch-all buzzword that people use to describe a wide range of online activities and applications,” according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s report, Riding the Waves of “Web 2.0.”

So where did Web 1.0 end and Web 2.0 begin? Some would argue that there’s really no distinction—that “marketers” use the Web 2.0 label to distance themselves from the failures of Web 1.0 companies that burst with the tech bubble.

But in some ways, “Web 2.0” represents a return to the roots of the web—as a social tool that brings people together without the weight of monolithic online institutions (think Usenet groups vs. an AOL-sponsored chat). Free and freewheeling applications that fall under Web 2.0 include MySpace, the wikis and Blogger, where social connections are the primary purpose.

Despite the hoopla, the more things change the more they stay same. Some of those clunky institutions are buying up these new applications, certain to stifle the hip, independent aura that surrounds something like facebook. Meanwhile, in the past five years, the most frequently reported internet activity by the average user on an average day is still checking email, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

So what are the implications of Web 2.0 for b2b marketers? At the very least, we can recognize the people’s preference for social activity online and play to it with tactics like hosting online forums.

I think b2b still has a ways to go with Web 2.0, and I’m pretty sure we’re not ready to start recommending to our clients that they build a MySpace page.

Check out the Pew Internet Project on Web 2.0 online.

No comments: