Over the last couple of years the internet has grown from a marginal information platform, used by a handful of nutty professors to a worldwide, omnipresent way of connecting people.
No need to say the internet had to pass through some stages to grow into becoming what it is today. One major step has been taken over the last year and a half: the internet changed into a mature form, it makes sense now and you can use it in thousands useful ways.
In the past you could use the internet to send emails and visit websites, and that was about it. These days the internet is everywhere and people use it to participate in discussions, to ventilate their opinions, to make friends, to keep in touch, to influence, to learn, to share and participate.
And sharing and participating are what makes these turbulent times so exciting. It becomes necessary to change the way we think about the internet. This is often referred to as Web 2.0 or The Next Web:
“Web 2.0 is a state of mind.”
It used to be like this: your company had a website; potential customers could visit the site and find the information your company was willing to share, and the visitors could talk about it with their friends.
At present, the situation is a little more complex: your company has a website; the visitors are expecting to find really useful information and are willing to provide you with active feedback. But that’s not all, they also want to share their opinion about your products, services and values with others and even more, those others can (and will) discuss you products and services on other websites you don’t control.
Recognizing this evolution is the first step towards company success on the present web. Unfortunately most companies don’t realize the possibilities of the social web and when they do, they don’t seem to understand the social web requires totally different ways of thinking and acting.
Exactly because you don’t control all websites where your products or services are mentioned, there is no way of removing bad comments. So whenever you encounter bad comments about your company, think before you act en don’t forget a simple blogger can have a lot of influence on how your company is perceived.
“Power to the consumer, wisdom of the crowds.”
Conclusion: your company should be aware of the possibilities the social web has to offer and you should use these possibilities wisely.