Is Web 2.0 the Human Internet?

Since you are reading this, you are probably already aware of some of the elements that are part of Web 2.0. I say this, because in the act of reading a blog, complete with trackbacks, pings, comments and various linkages, you are participating in the new Web 2.0 frontier.

And while Web 2.0 doesn’t look very different from Web 1.0, there are fundamental shifts underway that represent a very real change in the way that the web operates. You can see Tim O’Reilly’s site for an in-depth explanation, but the difference is that where Web 1.0 allowed us access to a lot of standalone applications that would work together (or not) in very predefined ways, Web 2.0 draws upon the power of a dispersed network of people and computers who are actively determined to engage with others.

In many ways, Web 2.0 technologies are humanising. They allow us to share our lives, thoughts and creativity with others … some who we know, others we do not. Web 2.0 manifests as open source software, blogs, creative commons, squidoo, wikipedia, filmloop, podcasts, AdWords, Google Pack, RSS and so on (yes, that would be another big list). As you can see, there is a lot of technology involved in this shift, which represents a sizable challenge to many IT and software companies. But there is also a great levelling … just as Microsoft’s emergence in the 1980s and 1990s as the standard platform for PCs allowed much greater sharing and collaboration (while also consolidating Microsoft’s power base), the use of Web 2.0 technologies places this power back in the hands of the users.

Web 2.0 is a great challenge for marketers, but also a great opportunity. We need to be across this technology, but we need to engage with it in the spirit in which it has evolved. We need to understand that the momentum is not towards technology, but towards people. Towards engagement. Towards sharing.

It also means that we need to be more integrated in our thinking. We need to be able to tell stories in the space afforded a mobile phone screen. We need to enthrall in a paragraph of blog text. We must draw gasps with our daring photos, podcasts and interactive content. And we must provide a consistency of message and strategy through the linking of narratives, and use the platform as part of the storytelling process.

A challenge? You bet!

But I, for one, can’t wait to see how it will all go!

Are You Off the List?

Listening the radio yesterday, there was a discussion about lists. There are books about lists and lists about lists, and in a way, most blogs are just lists of ideas, random thoughts and collections of other people’s lists.

We make lists to help us organise the chaos of our worlds. Some of us are compulsive about lists, others not so … me? I love a list. But just because I write lists doesn’t mean that I follow it. For me the list is just a starting point.

So, as a way of starting a trawl of the web, I found this site courtesy of Tom Peters … it is a list of the Top 10 Sources. Sure it is subjective, but that is what we need (and expect)… an opinion or a small piece of guidance will help us to decide whether something makes our own personal list or NOT.

What is at the top of your list today? Bet it changes tomorrow!


What is Listener’s Block?

Yeah, but no, but yeah! Sometimes repeating the same thing over and over simply does not explain a concept … which means there is a listener’s block of some kind. This is almost the exact opposite of a writer’s block … it is where you can’t hear the truth for the noise. The antidote to listener’s block is authenticity.

If, as a communicator, a marketer or writer you focus on not just telling your story, but on allowing it to be understood by your audience, then you are being authentic. In addition, by speaking to your audiences in terms that they can understand, there is a greater chance that they will ADOPT the ideas that you express and turn them into their own. Some call this word-of-mouth … and there is plenty about this circulating on the web at the moment.

The problem of course, is that you can’t really tell how your story will be manipulated or changed from mouth to mouth. This is why a good story needs to be authentic, so that no matter how it is transmitted it gets through to people on an emotional level, regardless of what or how they hear it.

Seth Godin’s new FREE eBook "Flipping the Funnel" explains this rather elegantly. He also provides clarity on some of his other escapades such as Squidoo and blogging. Check it out!


Weekend to Remember?

Ever wanted to be paid to have a good weekend? Four guys from Sydney are auctioning their company over one weekend. So far the bids have reached over $10,000. What’s on offer … instant best friends who you don’t have to impress, the promise of beer, BBQs, good conversation and lots of laughs.

Ever heard of living the brand? This is one good example. Just hope they can live up to the brand promise!


Million Dollar One Hit Wonder

Many of my colleagues were discussing Alex Tew’s million dollar homepage the other day … for the second time. I mention that it is only the second time, as it wasn’t a long discussion, and it has not been a recurring discussion.

My initial reaction to the site was "so what" — not in a sour grapes sort of way (kudos to Alex for making some cash), but more along the lines of "… and this contributes to the future in WHAT way?". It actually reminded me of the "one hit wonders" — those bands that have success with one single, but don’t succeed with album/CD sales … and disappear after a second or third rushed collection of songs. Sure the songs were great at the time, there may even be classics amongst them, but really, does Haysi Fantayzee have another song you can remember?

Anyway, that is not important. The thing is, that Shiny, Shiny and TMDW are the same beast. They flashed alive for a short time, made some money, gave their creators some experience on a world stage, and then became just one of many pop-culture memories. There was no lasting legacy as such, just memories.

If you are interested you can check this site out for a list of one hit wonders. Cool stuff with links directly off to eBay. Makes you wonder whether one day there will be a site that aggregates all the one hit websites that come and go. Perhaps this is the next project for Alex Tew.


Share Your Nuggets

I was reading this article on how to demonstrate technology, and I can see the point. However, not all of us are talking technology in a presentation … sometimes the subject of the presentation is less tangible. But no matter whether you are presenting a strategy, a brand identity or a promotional campaign there are some great takeaway points in the article.

There is one thing though that I would add … and that is, find a way that makes the presentation an easy story to tell someone else. The people who are watching your presentation need to be able to tell their friends and colleagues about you, so make sure there are some nice little nuggets that are easy to share.

For example:

  • Hit your key message at least THREE times during the presentation
  • Make sure that your messages are easy to remember and repeat
  • Give away your story — tell it in a mnemonic form so that people can recount it
  • Meet and greet before and after

These are just some of the many tips. Got any others? Happy to hear your tips!


Filmloop Fun

So I am thinking about changing the name of the site to Guy Kawasaki shrine. Of course, I would be competing with about 10,000 others who read his blog daily, but stranger things have happened, and indeed, stranger efforts have made money on the web. But I digress.

In case you haven’t seen Filmloop, it is one of the technologies that Guy’s has invested in – and it is seriously fun. He has added a film loop to his blog that you can add to, check it out here. Each loop can take about 200 photos, and mine is in there somewhere. See if you can pick me out of the crowd.

The thing I like about Filmloop is that it helps us make sense of the chaos that is part of our daily lives. Now, more than ever, we are online, digital, connected – and what better way to demostrate and actively participate in such a world, than through the technologies and devices that are so near and dear to our hearts.


Firefox Breaks 20%

Ok … well I never expected it to happen so soon, but Firefox has broken through the 20% mark on this blog. Is it an ongoing trend? I will let you know over the coming weeks and months.


New PR + Online = End of Traditional Advertising?

David Meerman Scott’s eBook (referred to yesterday) has resonated in an interesting way for me. One of the things I liked about it is that it turns PR into a highly activating tool for the marketer. And when you combine the ascendency of online advertising with this proactive, strategic take on PR, you could imagine a world where traditional advertising becomes almost "old fashioned".

And if PR spending is to grow by 9% per year (as reported in The Economist), then there truly could be a revolution in media strategy underway. However, as PR Machine notes, you if these element are to combine, then they need to combine in a way that allows the type of collaboration that results in telling deep, engaging content. It is true that you can’t produce something like an episode or series of Friends in your bedroom (where you can produce music or a blog), but once you move into the living room and out into the world wide web, you can still do something like The French Democracy!