During a variety of networking opportunities I’ve had lately, I’ve eagerly delivered my “30 second elevator speech”, and within it, I say something along the lines of “I’m Kindra Cotton, Small Business Survival Specialist, and I specialize in equipping small businesses with the social media tools they need to survive in a Web 2.0 world”. Until fairly recently, I wasn’t quite sure how well the entirety of that speech was going over, but I do know that people’s ears always perk up at the mere mention of “social media”.
Then, I was talking with someone about the rapid shift that we’re making into a Web 3.0 world, and it occurred to me that there are some people that have absolutely no idea what “Web 1.0”, “Web 2.0”, or “Web 3.0” really means, aside from being buzz words that tech people use to sound sleek. While I think that people can pick up on the fact that I help people use social media to market their business, I don’t think they have any true “reference points” for what any of this means, so today, I’m going to provide, a roadmap of sorts, to help you get a handle on what the Web 2.0 world is, and how you can bring your company up to speed with it, and be prepared for the eventual shift that takes everything up a notch.
So, in the beginning, there was “The Web”, which we’ll refer to as “Web 1.0”. This is the first stage of the World Wide Web, and its the initial stage that linked webpages with hyperlinks. It’s a little technical, but the thing to understand in this stage is this is where all the pages of information that were on, what became known as “The Internet”, were linked up together. The “Web 1.0” environment was the place where someone would create a series of webpages, that would then become a website, and they put that information out for people to receive. A great example I like to use here is thinking of “Web 1.0” as a one lane road. People, usually technical people or big companies and organizations, put these websites out there, and other people, like you and me, were there to absorb whatever they were giving out. So that’s “Web 1.0”. All of the information’s going in one direction.
The next stage was “Web 2.0”, which essentially is the shift from the one-lane road, to a two-lane road, where not only can big companies put out content, but now the little guy (or regular people) can contribute too. With technological advances that made tech easier to understand and more readily available, people now have the power to create their own websites and blogs, and participate in the conversation about all sorts of things that were restricted during the “Web 1.0” environment. So, that’s “Web 2.0”. More user-friendly, more interactive, and essentially this is where the social media boom gets its strong foothold, because, as you’ll find, everyone has an opinion that they’d like to share, and for the most part, you can always find SOMEONE who’s interested in hearing yours.
“Web 3.0” is the next big shift, and it’s what I like to call “The Collaborative Web”. “Web 2.0” enabled the ability for everyday people to have an impact in content generation and, in some instances, be able to shape the conversation far outside of the realms of major corporate multimedia outlets. I think, “Web 3.0”, takes that a step further by utilizing the vast quantities of information being created and analyzed as people use these various forms of technology, and it’s using it to create a better experience, both for the user, and subsequently for the advertiser who’ll be looking to access that user.
So, in sticking with our roadways example, I’d view “Web 3.0” as “a multi-lane highway”, or true “information superhighway”, because the information’s coming and going from multiple places. One of the distinctive things I think we’ll see in the Web 3.0 environment is a much more customized experience. For example, think about your TiVo, or a recent web search you’ve done, or conversation you’ve had on Facebook. With TiVo, if you record one show, TiVo instinctively records other shows like it, assuming you’ll like them too, since they feel that they understand your preferences based on your previous input. So, it’s nearly doing the work for you, based on a relatively small amount of work on your end. Now, let’s relate that to the web: If you’re on Facebook, or searching Google for something, have you ever noticed how the ads that pop up while you’re searching tend to be directly related to whatever you’re searching about, or talking about on Facebook? This isn’t a mistake. This is “Web 3.0”, and it’s only going to get more precise as more time and more information about people keeps getting created, archived, and analyzed.
Ok, now this isn’t meant to scare you, but I wanted to explain the “Web 1.0”, “Web 2.0”, and “Web 3.0” terms in ways that hopefully everyone will understand. I hope I did that. Let me know if I didn’t or if you have any questions.
Now, with all this being said: Is your business Web 2.0 compatible? Are you maximizing social networks to get the most out of your client relationships?
Kindra Cotton, Small Business Survival Specialist