Buzz Words Demystified! Episode 1 - Web 2.0

Chris HolmokThe online marketing world is a strange place. It's where two very different fields come together to provide new avenues for marketing opportunities. These two fields are technology and marketing. The people in these fields could not come from more different planets. They even speak two completely different languages. However, as different as they are, they do have something very important in common: everything starts with an idea.

Being idea driven folk, both camps have their arsenal of BUZZ WORDS!! When understood, buzz words can be very helpful in explaining and understanding an idea. When they are not understood, look out. They can cause confusion and cloud good ideas with misinformation. This new series will help demystify common tech and marketing buzz words to help everyone understand them better. This first installment covers a tech buzzword that is very big today in online marketing: Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 (that’s Two-Point-Oh)
Tim O’Reilly is credited with coining the term Web 2.0, so why not start off with a quote from him explaining it:

“Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as a platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.”

So what does that mean? In its early days, the web was mainly used to deliver information to a user. A user would go to a website and get the information they requested (or not). Once they got the information they needed, or bought their stuff, their experience with that website was effectively over.

After the dotcom bubble burst, there were a handful of websites that weathered the storm, and some even thrived. The websites that thrived – Wikipedia, eBay, craigslist, Amazon (user generated content and recommendations), to name few – all had a couple things in common. First, they were applications not normally run on the web or in a web browser. Second, they relied on content generated by users, and last they had rich user interfaces that allow users to easily interact with the website.

Other people started noticing this trend and created websites and business models around the following ideas:

  • The web as an application platform
  • User generated, dynamic data that was freely available
  • user interfaces that engage the user

With these ideas, users were driven back to the websites because the experience was fun and rewarding. They had ownership of the site from the content they contributed, and the website was a destination to “get things done.” This led to the proliferation of these new ideas in online marketing: blogging, social-networking, peer-production, online memes, and much, much more.

So what does this mean for online marketing? Well, it doesn’t mean that being “more Web 2.0” is a simple polish to the design and layout of your website (although that could be part of it). It’s enabling a user to do things on the web they could not do before – and the websites that get the most eye balls are the ones with content generated by users.

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