Web 2.0; the final frontier?

Web 2.0. This is what we’ve been talking about. The beggining of the social networking revolution. MySpace, Facebook, Twitter…the creation of online personas and aliases. In web 2.0 we can be who we want to be – take interactive experience games like Second Life – create yourself the way you want to be seen. Web 2.0 has brought us so much – but whats the next step?

We’ve already seen the boom of social networking sites – now everyone has a homepage. We’ve already seen the power of viral marketing and viral video – how many people have not seen “Chocolate Rain” or “Star Wars Kid” or even “Sneezing Panda” or “Leave Britney Alone!” – there are sites dedicated to the newest viral videos – sites like todaysbigthing.com that highlights a video a day. In the wake of the viral-ness of the internet, we have seen major organizations try and get involved in viral marketing to target the younger demographic. Sprite had a “subliminal” campaign for “lymon” – explaining the lemon-lime taste of the drink. There are companies springing up that can guarantee “seed lists” of online influencers. The world has taken notice of the power of Web 2.0 – the social web – where content can be easily generated and published by users. But what lies just beyond the bend? Where will we be in five, ten, or fifteen years down the road?

The leaders of the internet revolution (google is one for example) predict that the next phase of our internet evolution (or Web 3.0) will give rise to applications that seamlessly connect and interact with other applications – regardless of origin. In addition – they predict machines having the ability to reason better – that artificial intelligence will improve.  Programs and applications will be open source – and there will be a World Wide Database. Web 3.0 has been compared to file sharing permissions. Web 1.0 was “read-only,” there was only the ability to veiw a web page – but not to interact with the content, Web 2.0 is “read-write,” there exists the ability to read the content on the page as well as with certain websties and platforms interact with the data on the screen as well as create new data. For instance – the blog I am writing right now is a great example of web 2.0. I am – on the web – creating content for the web. That is the essence of Web 2.0. Web 3.0 is compared to “read-write-execute” – applications will be able to run user generated code. Some believe that the web will transform into 3D spaces – much like second life. Where the web is accessed through 3 dimensional imagery. Actually – the television show “Futurama” predicts this for the future as well. In the episodes where they go on the internet, the characters don what looks like virtual reality goggles and fly through a city, and interacting just as one would in real life.  While the show is offering a parody of what they think the internet may become – the writers of the show may not be too far from the truth.

The internet has come a long way since the first simple websites – and we have not yet begun to see the possibilities it holds for the way we interact. We may – in the future – be in a social web outside the box.

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Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wiki

Wiki’s seem to be the long lost brother of social networking. Wiki’s actually are great examples of users of the social web collaborating to create the best product possible. Besides the obvious perils of using wiki databases as credible sources of information (the way college students seem to think that wikipedia is a scholarly source). Wiki’s can also have organizational benefits. They can serve as databases and shared knowledge pools. I thought I would delve into the scholarly definitions of the wiki and the benefits they have.

Leuf and Cunningham (2001) explain that a wiki is “a freely expandable collection of interlinked web pages, a hypertext system for storing and modifying information – a database where each page is easily editable by any user with a forms-capable web browser client” (p. 14).  Thus, a wiki can be edited and updated by anyone with access.  Large sites such as Wikipedia allow global access to most wiki pages, however an internal wiki system that allows different levels of access to different organizational groups will serve to alleviate some of the inter-departmental tensions created by a decentralized organization.  A wiki system will not only create a new communication channel and knowledge base, rather open the door to new innovative collaboration techniques.

Raman (2006) posits that wikis have two distinct organizational benefits.  Wikis enhance communication by allowing project teams to communicate over a common platform.  In addition, the wiki provides a central information base with reference to important information salient to tasks, thus eliminating communication slowdown caused by incomplete information.  Wikis also support a knowledge sharing culture within an organization.  Wagner (2004) explains that wiki technology thrives on being an open system.  Anyone with access can edit any wiki page and share information with others. Davenport and Prusak (1998) posit three factors that contribute to inefficiency in knowledge markets.  A lack of centrality and incompleteness of information can impede the process through which both brokers unite buyers and sellers and ease of access and availability of information. Wikis create the centrality necessary to unite those who seek and those who have knowledge. An asymmetry of knowledge between different groups or teams may exist and may create a roadblock to efficient knowledge management and sharing.  By creating a wiki knowledge base with organizational access, any group in the organization will have the ability to access information thus limiting the asymmetry associated with poor knowledge sharing.  Lastly, localness of knowledge can hinder the ability of local groups to obtain knowledge from distant sources.  A catalogue of sources, such as a wiki, can be helpful to identify where or with whom the knowledge in the organization resides.

Beyond the organization – wikis can serve as repositories for data shared by social groups. Also, many software applications use wikis for their user manuals – especially if the software goes through many permutations and versions.  To stress the importance of wiki’s – many organizations, celebrities, and public figures devote time and effort to ensuring the validity of their wiki.

While wiki’s are not direct social networks – they are a growing source of information that is becoming increasingly relevant in our digital age.

Published in: on November 8, 2008 at 6:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Los Angeles Social Club

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This week – I am in Los Angeles. I’ll tell you – it’s a different world out here. For an east coast boy like myself, it was a hard transition to let go and relax. New York is rush rush rush, LA is about taking it slow. Been talking with some people about social networking sites and their influence on the entertainment and music industries.

Social networking technology presents a double edged sword. Since there are little barriers to the creation of new social networking sites – we have both the best and worst ideas presented to us as users, and ultimately we are given the decision as to what applications become part of our everyday lives – and what fades into the dreaded internet obscurity,

While on the left coast, I learned of an interesting approach to social networking in regards to music. Through a network of musicians and fans this site allows the average user to profit off their taste in music. Indie911.com is a site like no other. The process is simple – yet brilliant. The platform for this innovative dissemination is the Hooka media player. The hooka player is a media web application that plays music (mp3) and video objects (flv). Each user, fan or artist, has a personal hooka player. The player also has direct links to purchase songs off the Indie911 site. The artist hooka has the tracks submitted by the artist with a pre-determined percentage agreement regarding the sale of each song. Thus, if a user buys a song directly off an artists site – the artist in entitled to a share – as is indie911. Sounds normal so far, but here’s the brilliant part: the user’s hooka player is comprised of whatever songs they choose from the catalogue of songs posted by the artists – if any of those songs sell directly from that user’s hooka player – indie 911 takes a cut, the artist takes a cut, and the fan takes a cut. Indie911 is taking the fan experience to the new level actually giving listeners the opportunity to profit from their favorite Indie bands.

This interactive opportunity is indicative of the trends sweeping the internet social-scene. The more involved a user can get the better. Whenever I consult clients on their online presence and media strategy I always mention that whatever media is presented online should serve as an interactive portal to the individual experience. I suggest that users and fans and any other potential viewer is ultimately looking to have an experience that exemplifies the brand in which they are interested. Being able to capture the essence, whether through design, functionality, or brand awareness (almost always a combination of those plus other factors specific to client needs) – is the litmus test of a successful online experience.

While anyone can create social networking tools, it will ultimately be those that engage the user in meaningful experience that will see ubiquity in use, and a fixed place, even if only for a short time, in the cannon of the internet experience.

Published in: on November 1, 2008 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment