What is Web 2.0 really about?

Online, you hear the buzzword Web 2.0 all the time. But after speaking to friend today, I was reminded me that not everyone knows what Web 2.0 is, let alone heard the phrase “Web 2.0”.

My favourite definition, which came from Information Week last year, goes like this:

Web 2.0 is all the Web sites out there that get their value from the actions of users.

is one of the greatest examples of a Web 2.0 site. Not because of anything technical like RSS feeds or Ajax interactivity, but because it brings a community of users that share photos together.

Del.icio.us is another superb Web 2.0 site. It uses a whole bunch of cool features like folksonomies and tag clouds to enhance the user experience. But without the millions of users, it would be useless.

And the uber-terrific last.fm isn’t Web 2.0 becuase of it’s clean design, gradients and pretty buttons. It’s because I can find great new music based on the tastes of other users.

Anyone can build a Web 2.0 site, as long as they don’t forget that it is the users, or the community, that makes it Web 2.0. For example, my new-favourite T-Shirt store Threadless, has a Web 2.0 site. They rely on their users not only to submit new T-Shirt designs, but to vote for said designs as well.

Long-standing websites like ebay can even be defined as Web 2.0, despite the fact that they have been around since the Web 1.0 days. Why? Because it has connected users together in a way that wasn’t possible before.

Interactivity, rich features and good web design only scratch the surface as to what Web 2.0 is all about.

The users are the key ingredient. The users are what make Web 2.0 really special.

Stunning effort by Nikon

Nikon’s latest campaign to promote its new D80 has proven the power of social media for marketers.

NikonRather than opting for the traditional marketing route, Nikon chose to engage the creme-de-la-creme of today’s creative photographers to help out. Nikon selected a group of passionate, heavy flickr users who already use Nikon cameras, sent them their new D80 to try it out. The results are stunning, as Nikon can proudly exclaim. You can see them here.

This is a terrific way to create positive word of mouth about a new product. The social nature of flickr means that buzz about this promotion has spread like wildfire.

All of a sudden, thousands of flickr users have a positive encounter with the Nikon brand, from someone they have a relationship with. Nikon also chose some of the images taken to use in a 3-page spread ad to support the campaign.

Clever stuff. A big tip of the sombrero to Nikon for this one.

To be online and offline

Back during the hazy days of Internet 1.0, offline retailers rushed their brands online to get involved in the action. flickercam.jpg

Before too long, we'll start seeing Internet 2.0 brands go offline. Imagine, if you will, flickr branded digital cameras, last.fm branded wifi stereos, Goowy branded PDAs. And as internet ubiquity emerges, the lines will blur.

Sites like Stylehive are taking brand-building to the next step. Stylehive, the social-shopping site, have even tried their hand at promoting their brand in Second Life, the fascinating-but-massively-weird metaverse. As well as having a virtual Headquarters in Second Life, they've cleverly hosted a fasion-show there as well.
High fives to Emily Chang and her team for jumping in head first.

Ahh … the sound of a human voice

Fred at WeBreakStuff points out what happens when using Flickr and something goes wrong. We don’t get an error message. Instead, we get,  ‘Flickr is having a massage’. A human voice is speaking here.
massage.gifIt’s refreshing to know that some of the most succesful web 2.0 companies are the ones that aren’t taking themselves too seriously. Since when did we all stop talking like people anyway?