Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2006 is you!
Web 2.0 has come squarely into the sights of the mainstream media. Bits and pieces of this brave new web world have been in place for several years. However, several powerful factors have converged to make the social internet a welcomed guest in American homes and businesses:
The Widespread Adoption of Broadband
The greatly increased availability of broadband service, along with its decreasing cost, has brought high-speed internet into millions of homes and businesses. The FTC reports that in 2005 broadband service increased by 33% and went to over 50 million homes and businesses. The statistics for 2006 have not yet been released. This speed upgrade makes it possible and practical to upload, download and stream, allowing millions to become internet power-users and participate in the many exciting new web platforms.
The Blossoming of Blogs
Blogs have become a must have accessory for the web savvy and web wannabes alike. Along with other easy-to-use content management systems, like those behind My Space and Facebook, free blogs allow everyone to participate in the social web and to homestead their own territory on the internet.
The Proliferation of Platforms
Risk-embracing internet entrepreneurs mined a fortune in free content from user participation. The more content, the more users. The more users, the more potential for advertising revenue. Many of them are swinging for the fences with dreams of being gobbled up by Google for quick millions. The raving success of a few like YouTube, attracts more and more players in to the game.
Free Storage Space
First popularized by Google’s G-Mail, gigabytes of free storage space have lured many into participating in Web 2.0. Instead of clogging up precious hard drive space, people are keeping their personal computers lean and nimble by taking advantage of websites like Flick’R to store everything from photos and videos to podcasts and documents.
The Internet Is Everywhere
It is no longer necessary to sit down at your desk to access the internet. The net is everywhere – coffee shops, apartment lobbies, hospitals, office buildings, public parks, commuter trains, sidewalks, classrooms, etc. Soon it will be in places we cannot now imagine.
There are also many more ways to access the internet – phones, PDAs, iPods, video game systems, TV’s, terminals in airports and libraries, etc. People are taking advantage of this open access and finding their own ways to make the internet useful and to share information with each other.
A less-than-happy hotel guest can use the computer you provide in your own lobby to spread their dissatisfaction across the internet with lightning speed. A customer can use their cell phone to upload a photo of the mold around the bathtub in their suite for the whole world to see. Another can check on their Palm Pilot for reviews written about you and your competitors while standing in your check-in line.
By ignoring Web 2.0, you are putting your business at risk. You must learn to participate in the social web in the proper ways – ways that help you to establish credibility, trust and good relationships with customers past, present and future.
Time’s Person of the Year is your customer. Are you ready for her?
Mary Bowling – Blizzard Internet Marketing, Inc.