web 2.0 is the terms for the transition that the internet is currently going through. when i used to do consulting i was exposed to a bunch of different projects, many of which did personalization. and nowadays the internet culture is blowing up. when i taught classes in personalization we'd give examples of how you can be at a music website looking at cds and through personalization you'd be able to define business rules so that cds by the same artist or similar artists would be displayed on the same page trying to show the buyer other options. but we never dreamed it would get to such a user based-world. at that time we were focusing on the business to business (B2B) model.
it seems like i missed so much in the last two years while i was busy getting married, moving and getting divorced. a few years ago people used to get on line to do research, book travel, do shopping and maybe some banking. it is completely transforming and fast. the internet is becoming a place where people can establish an identity for themselves. they can partake in a wide variety of communities allowing them to express themselves and meet people. i belong to various communities for scrapbooking (twopeas), socializing (myspace), technology (java.net), movies (youtube), and photography (flickr). you can post your pictures on line to share with your friends and then they can even buy prints of them if you want. last week at lunch we got friendly with our waiter and he gave us his email address so we could become myspace friends. "are you on myspace" is becoming a popular question when meeting people - especially with the younger generation. i made two "myspace" friends on my trip to hawaii with my sister. and you can display your creativity as well. you can make goofy videos of yourself. or maybe put together a neat video for father's day of pictures of your father through the years and what he means to you. no more simply getting a hallmark card, you can now actually make a tribute and post it online for the world to see. there are tons of sites who let you do creative things with your photos, videos. and BLOGGING! it's called the blogosphere. that amazes me too. people can have a voice about anything. do other people listen? i'm not sure, but it is our human nature to observe others. there are definately sites and blogs that stand out as leaders. almost every newspaper, magazine, website and author has their own blog or series of blogs. and millions of random individuals have their own blogs as well (including me - this is one of two that I have). it's funny that someone can just post various things and thousands of people will come each day to read them. just from you guys reading my myspace blog i get about 30-50 visitors a day. there is a website called technoarti which is part a technology and part a statistics website. it tracks all the internet blogs. i check it out all the time because it fascinates me. you can see the topics that people blog about the most in a given day or week. you can also check and compare the statics of various blogs or communities.
and there are even new ways we can get our news! of course we can still go to cnn.com and check the headlines. but there are many blog based websites where people actually make their own news. for example, a site like fark.com has members that read news from various local or national newspapers and post funny articles. the format of fark.com mostly humor so people post wild, interesting and stupid news. but it is all real news from around the world posted by random people to share with other random people.and all those random people viewing the articles have the opportunity to comment on them. it is truly interactive. many of news articles we would never learn about by watching the today show or our local nightly news. digg.com is smiilar but after a person posts an article, the other users of the site rate them (they can comment too). the articles are mostly technology articles. if you like the story you "digg" it (by clicking a button that says "digg"). the stories with the most "diggs" show up at the top of the list. so we ourselves, as individual online users, are determining which news is most interesting to us.
the things that these technologies are doing is VERY POWERFUL. our voices are being heard. companies are making marketing decisions based on things we say or do in these online communities. the business world is changing based on things people express in online communities. when i mention communities i refer to youtube.com (videos), flickr.com (pictures), myspace.com (making friends), digg.com (news), twopeas, etc..
i love to pay attention to the B2B partnerships of all the companies. which big company buys which new little start up. i'm also fascinated in the business models of many of these sites. i spend tons of time on youtube.com watching videos people make. i have yet to understand the business model of youtube. i don't see many ads on that site. it just launched in december of 2005 and there are millions of new users each month. it grew 72 percent in the month of may alone. it looks like they will be the winner of the video sites. and one girl, brookers, who make stupid videos just got signed by carson daily to make short-length features. the first youtube celebrity. myspace.com got bought by News Corp which is a huge media company. i have no idea what their plans are because myspace is kind of an ugly, buggy site. but there is tons of potential. myspace.com has been in the news daily and youtube.com had been in the news at least weekely for the past two months. what is interesting is that myspace is so big and the users use these other technologies with myspace. for example, people post funny youtube videos they find either on their myspace blog or through a myspace bulletin that gets sent to all of the people on their myspace friends list. youtube is becoming to myspace what paypal became to ebay. and what else will come? sites hosting music play lists are availalbe. people make slide shows of their favorite pics or even from a party and list them on their myspace page. which companies will pull ahead in those industries?
what's interesting here is that these new type of websites have no direct corporate competition. for example, when amazon.com launched in the 90s it quickly became the number 1 place to order books. but pretty soon the brick and morter stores built their own websites and now they compete heavily with amazon. the issue for these new communities seems to be copyright based. people are posting photographs that they may not have taken. clips of videos that are "pirated". music that is "pirated". we will see how corporate america reacts. we already went through one round with napster being closed down. and already some companies are emailng cease and dissist letters to youtube members who post clips from tv shows or movies. will us internet users be beat down again by corporate america. or will they have learned from the napster backlash and take a different approach?
anyways, i am completely enthralled from both a business and cultural perspective. and since i work creating websites such as these, i have my ears perked up to see where this is growing to an i have my eyes open for opportunity!