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xx 2.0: Flat = Transparent

(September 13, 2005) There's a meaningful change in the way that the web is used. From the near billboard quality of the early days, the internet has matured into a more intimate and engaging communications tool. As is usually the case, our training has done little to keep pace with the changes. Many of the emerging, "new" ideas are really rooted in earlier versions.

For example:

  • Did you know that Amazon (through a surpise partner) will help you find inventory to sell in their marketplace? Through its web services group, you can acquire a service that couples a bar code scanner and a cell phone. At garage sales, you can scan the bar code of a book and  Amazon will deliver the pricing range, thus enabling you to buy inventory at a profit.

    When we say "surprise", we mean that the innovation was an unplanned result of exposing their internal processes. Although Amazon might have considered offering the service, it probably would not have made their development priority list. Take a listen to Jeff Bezos telling this story and others. (Jeff Bezos (of Amazon) on Web 2.0 (audio) (last year).)
  • Now, take a look at Interview@. The service is a flatter, less filtered variant on the Vault.com or WetFeet. Visitors  offer their take on interviewing and hiring processes at an interesting range of companies. Wiki like in its execution, the service collects data from people with interviewing experience at a particular company and makes that content widely available.  (Another product from the same group offers detailed interview questions and answers and a more consistent level of editorial quality.)

(A wiki (wikiwiki) enables documents to be written collectively (co-authoring) in a simple markup using a web browser. A single page in a wiki is referred to as a "wiki page", while the entire body of pages, which are usually highly interconnected via hyperlinks, is called "the doodle"; in effect, a very simple database.

A defining characteristic of wiki technology is the ease with which pages can be created and updated. Generally, there is no review before modifications are accepted. Most wikis are open to the general public without the need to register any user account. Sometimes session log-in is requested to acquire a "wiki-signature" cookie for autosigning edits. More private wiki servers require user authentication.)

  • In the past several months, large traditional PR firms  and small Web development and online marketing agencies alike have unveiled services to help clients manage and shape their online reputations. The goal is to sell clients on using PR experts to sort through the confusing world of blogs, search engine marketing and other technologies such as podcasting before the online world turns on them. 
  • The NewPR Wiki is a useful guide to the changes in PR execution that flow from the web's newfoud focus. There are viable models of online executive intimacy delivered

There's been a bit of talk about Web 2.0 around our industry. That's shorthand for these new approaches to communications, web delivery and, most importantly, management/customer relations. Taken in context, it's really more like Web/Marketing/Sales/Management/PR/Strategy 2.0. The game has shifted and its catching on in our industry.

When Jason Goldberg notes a 80% decline in traffic during his vacation, he's pointing out, in very practical terms how important real time content is to the emerging model of business.

What Jason is doing is to brilliantly embrace the principles of the emerging business method while demonstrating that he practices what he preaches to his customers. It's not so much that Jason needs an audience (although the blog is a cost reducer in their marketing scheme), it's that the new transparency demands flat organizations with real time access to the ultimate "belly button". The content of Jason's postings is never as important as the fact that he posts. Customers can be assured that there is a live body in place who will respond to their needs.

Don't forget to check out the blogs on bert.

- John Sumser

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