Playing With Web 2.0

This is part 3 of the series “Web 2.0 a Personal Experience”. I’ve talked about how I’ve been sucked into web 2.0, finding new ways to connect with people and businesses, feeling the freedom to explore the world, & discovering that technology is the door to possibilities.

If you haven’t started to play yet, or if you are just getting started, I have a few ideas that might help.  First, think of it as play. Look at the businesses that are making serious money in this space and you will always find an element of fun.  Next, just get used to trying new things. Sign up for Beta launches and new social network sites. Yes, I know it can be overwhelming to keep track of all the emails, passwords, log-in names, but grab a little notebook that is strictly for passwords and notes, and don’t worry about keeping track of everything. The idea is to get used to the platforms and process of the way you are being engaged. You will learn more from your own experience than anything.

Here’s a little homework, oops, this is supposed to be fun, let’s call it an experiment. Create a quick presentation with Google Docs and send me a link to your online presentation. Follow this “getting started” tutorial from ZDNet and listen to this podcast Ingrid & I made about using Google Presentation for a webinar (it’s really bad – we were playing).

October 2, 2007 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment

Why Every Organization Needs to Understand Web 2.0

 Because the term Web 2.0 came out of the technology industry, a large number of organizations, corporations, and small businesses dismiss the relevance in the business world.

While the discussion of “how” has captured the technical world, the discussion of “why” and “what now” is the new topic of interest. The reason every business (any size) needs to understand Web 2.0 is because it provides a better way to engage customers and create communities.  Business has always been about relationships and Web 2.0 is about building stronger relationships.

In today’s new world, businesses must adopt both the technology and mindset to participate in the conversations that are changing the way we all work and live.

http://www.thefaceforce.com/demo/Faceforce%20Demo.swf

http://getsatisfaction.com/

September 24, 2007 at 5:07 pm 2 comments

What is Web 2.0…A Personal Experience

This is the first of a three part series on Web 2.0. It is not going to be the typical academic review of what Web 2.0 is or isn’t. There are dozens of brilliant people who have covered this topic exhaustively (follow links at end you’ll see what I mean).

I’ve resisted writing about this because the complexity of the topic makes for either a very short, easy to read blog entry that is essentially meaningless, or a meaningful entry that is too long for most reader’s interest. I’m compromising by splitting this up into sections: What is Web 2.0… A Personal Experience, Why Every Business and Organization Needs to Understand Web 2.0, and Ideas, Tips and Resources for Playing in Web 2.0.

What is Web 2.0…A Personal Experience

Web 2.0 is basically adaptation of technology. The way people are using the internet has matured from the dot com portals and software into more web services. As a personal experience, I find myself interacting with businesses and the communities that are built around them. If you find yourself collaborating and participating on a topic, you have probably experienced the difference between Web 1.0 and 2.0.

Here’s some of the applications I use and examples of businesses that are leveraging the opportunities.

Upcoming: Upcoming.org is a social event calendar website that became a part of Yahoo! in October of 2005. I use Upcoming mainly to for conferences and Web 2.0 Lunch information, but also to see what some of my friends are planning. Here’s an example of a business use of upcoming. Edelmen, a global PR firm is hosting the End-of Summer social event for members of the local AMA (American Marketing Association) at their new office location. The event is listed on upcoming. That makes it easy for me, a PSAMA member, to add it to my events and promote it to my friends and groups.

Blogs and Blogging Communities: Business Blogging is still at the cutting edge of Web 2.0 and will continue to be one of the best ways to engage customers and community. I’m not sure I could find a business category that isn’t represented in a blog. Just as an experiment, I googled Mary Kay blogs (thinking that would be the least likely) and there are even a few representatives from this rather old school business (more that blog about it negatively than as a business tool though).

Real Estate Agents blog aggressively. A glimpse into the size of this growing trend is Active Rain, a portal that allows people in the real estate industry to blog in a network. The community is growing at a rate of 450 users a week and they expect to be
at 100,000 members by the time they celebrate their 2nd birthday.

Attorneys are blogging (Real Lawyers Have Blogs).

Oracle blogs (duh…all technology companies have been blogging from the start)

Financial Planners blog (a few…)

You get the picture. I read blogs via google reader and can quickly scan through the new posts on all my favorite blogs. Nothing revolutionary about the way I use blogs. The question is, have I bought anything or used a service because of a blog? Absolutely. Everything from the type of groceries I buy (mostly PCC) to clothes, books, lessons for my kids, landscaping products, my car, the restaurants we go to, my digital camera, web hosting, printers, all start with reading information (mainly through blogs) before purchasing. Lot’s of mom’s talk and trade secrets via blogs, and we all know the person who is really responsible for almost all purchases, right?

Podcasts (check out itunes podcast directory), You Tube, Slide Share, and Webcasts are basically the same as blogs. It’s the place I go for information. I listen, watch, and learn. .

Social Networking: I use Biznik, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay in touch with business contacts and friends.

I use Wiki’s for collaborating on projects and organizations like my Toastmaster group.

Until you have a network of people you like, trust, and want to collaborate with, the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and such won’t hold value. The value comes from the use. It’s like a rolodex on your desk…only useful by the information you put in. These applications are all easier to use and better than the old rolodex.

I’ll conclude part one of “What is Web 2.0”. The point (I hope I made about my experience) is that by participating, getting inside glimpses and information (from people, not just the company) I’ve built relationships (in relatively short periods of time) with hundreds of people. That is pretty cool.

What is Web 2.0? Twitter sums it up with this question, “What are you doing?”

links: Academic Approach

Boxes and Arrows

O’Reilly Radar

September 10, 2007 at 7:25 pm 2 comments

Kudos

I have to start with giving props to Leif Hansen who facilitated a podcasting workshop last week for Biznik members. If it wasn’t for this workshop I wouldn’t have discovered the Mosiac Coffee House. This place is really amazing.

Here’s what I’ve found out about this community coffee house. Mosaic is a unique community service of Seattle First Church of the Nazarene in Wallingford that was started with the intent to love and interact within the neighborhood they live in.  

Could a church do this? Could they really interact with and be a part of the surrounding community? Uh…yeah. This is a great example of using church “space” for community. Here’s a review from yelp. “The place is so warm and welcoming, and the staff is so friendly, it wouldn’t matter if this were a teeny tiny venue, I would still drop by regularly.”

Congratulations to Seattle First Church for participating & building community in a meaningful way.

August 28, 2007 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Build it before you need it

One of the common comments in my “Connecting with Consumers” class is that online communities aren’t important if you have a strong offline community. Some people feel that spending time online, blogging, reading blogs, posting comments on Facebook walls, and participating in online forums, is taking time away from face to face relationships.

 If I had a choice, I would almost always pick face to face communication over any other method. It is the path of least resistance (it’s familiar) it’s easy to gage commonalities, and it provides instant feedback. Online communication is more intentional, it requires thought, exposure, and is often ignored or misunderstood by others. But it is well worth the effort. Participation is always key, online or offline. I think we are looking for ways to connect and finding them in places unexpected.  

August 21, 2007 at 11:40 pm 1 comment

Less fragments, more collaboration

One of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about is how fragmented the world is.  In this networked, connected world, there is the idea that we are talking to each other, but most of the time we are just talking to ourselves. The non-profit world talks to the other non-profits, real estate agents talk to other real estate agents (through ActiveRain), credit unions talk to other credit unions…you get the picture. So we have this sense that because we are blogging and a few people are reading our blogs that we are all connected.  But where’s the real conversations between diverse groups?  What would happen if mission driven businesses, developers, non-profits, and church leaders spent a day talking? What could we all learn from each other? That is the goal of Community Building Camp.

I’m in the process of organizing Community Building Camp as a barcamp in Seattle. I have a few people helping but need more volunteers. The goal is to make it a free or near free event so finding a venue is the most critical element. Here’s the list we are choosing from:

  • Blaine School in Magnolia
  • The Big Picture
  • Hugo House
  • Phinney Center

I’ve left messages with a couple of churches to see if they would be interested in providing some space but I haven’t heard back. I don’t want to get started about the dead space and huge overhead of churches. That’s another blog altogether.

If you know of a space that could work please let me know. Here’s a link to the wiki for more information. Community Building Seattle 2007.

August 13, 2007 at 4:41 am Leave a comment

Never Blog Alone

I created my first blog two years ago. I used Blogger to set up a place for my local Toastmaster club to post news and information. It ultimately failed. Club members didn’t use it. I know I wasn’t really using the blog in the normal way, but I thought it would be a good alternative to a static website. Eventually I discovered Wikis and abandoned the blog format. (It was a good move. Kudos to WetPaint).

My second blog was also a failure. I was going through a weird phase of life and developed an obsession with Kierkegaard. I thought a blog would be the perfect place to discuss my appreciation of him. It failed because I wasn’t really passionate about the subject after all and with zero readers became a chore. I think I had a total of four posts!

My third blog wasn’t a complete failure. I had learned a little from reading other blogs and started to pick up some key points. The most important was “purpose”. A blog needs a purpose and it should be clear to the blogger and reader what the purpose is. I thought I really had it my third time. I started a blog on social networking with the intent to write about what was working and what wasn’t. It worked for about two weeks. I had a few readers and comments but I fizzled out. The purpose wasn’t strong enough for me to stick with it.

That brings me to this, my fourth blog. I’m the first to admit that I have a lot to learn. But, I’m committed to the process of blogging. Everyone has their own experience on this blogging adventure. For me, the best experience is one that is shared.

I’ve finally joined technorati! Via this post. And I got my first comment on my post yesterday! I’ll never blog alone again…

<a href=”http://technorati.com/claim/icccupds2&#8243; rel=”me”>Technorati Profile</a>

If you blog, share your experience. What’s the hardest part about blogging? Why do you keep doing it? How long did it take to get comments? If you haven’t started blogging yet, what holds you back? What would you like to know about blogging?

One of the most common complaints about beginning a blog is that it takes too much time. It’s true – it can be ridiculously time consuming. When we discuss this (in the class “Connecting with Today’s Consumers”) the general consensus is that real estate agents that blog are spending too much time with the computer and not enough time “pressing the flesh”. I think the benefits of blogging or participating in social networks have the potential to blow the socks off of traditional networking alone. But that is for another post…

In the spirit of not blogging alone…here are a few of my favorite blogging tips:

Mark Bernstein – A List Apart

Hugh Hollowell – A Politically Incorrect Entrepreneur

Problogger – Blogging for Beginners

Lorelle on WordPress – The Magic and Fun of Incoming Links

When is Blogging a Waste of Time

The Real Estate Tomato: No Time to Blog?

June 12, 2007 at 6:54 pm 8 comments

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