The Web 2.0 Trend: Implications for the Modern Business

The Web 2.0 Trend: Implications for the Modern Business

Michael Dinger (Clemson University, USA) and Varun Grover (Clemson University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch117
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Abstract

This article introduces and describes the use of Web 2.0 technologies in contemporary business environments. Web 2.0 refers to many current generation internet technologies that are characterized by rich media, a dynamic nature, social networking elements and distributed contributions. The chapter presents three major Web 2.0 archetypes: blogs, wikis and social networking sites. It concludes with a value-oriented framework designed to guide firms in the development of Web 2.0 initiatives.
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Background

Web 2.0 thinking emphasizes the distributed and interactive nature of information technologies. Therefore, the core concept of a web page is altered to allow for distinct interaction from site visitors. This mindset is represented in the way that users can create, remove or edit informational content on wikis, comment on blogs, or drive the content of media-sharing sites like YouTube. The distributed nature of Web 2.0 technologies allows many users to create and participate while needing little technical knowledge.

Characteristics of Web 2.0

Web 2.0 technologies can be identified by a number of common characteristics. These technologies generally capitalize on the ability of websites to embed rich media, which can enhance user experiences. Web 2.0 initiatives are dynamic in nature, enabling constant change and updates. Also, Web 2.0 technologies regularly include social networking elements which enable users to form connections with one another. Finally, these endeavors are noted for their reliance on the distributed contributions of many participants.

Rich Media

Rich media is a common characteristic of Web 2.0 technologies. Some Web 2.0 sites are compiled solely of user-generated content, including YouTube (videos) and Flickr (images), but rich media can enhance any user experience. For instance, many news sites, such as CNN.com and ESPN.com, embed video in conjunction with print stories. Similarly, in conjunction with written guides, About.com provides a variety of how-to videos. Furthermore, social networks, such as Facebook, have enabled users to post and store digital images and video.

Dynamic Nature

The dynamic nature of Web 2.0 technologies is driven by their ability to be quickly changed. A core design element of wikis is the ability to add, remove or change content quickly. On social networking sites, users are able to make changes to their profile with ease. Twitter thrives on constant change and updates. In what might best be described as a micro-blog, Twitter users are able to make regular posts, but such posts can contain a maximum of 140 characters. Due to the dynamic nature of Web 2.0 technologies, companies like Dell can quickly respond to customer complaints and concerns through a corporate blog (en.community.dell.com/blogs/direct2dell/).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Distributed Contributions: The practice of leveraging the willing participation of users.

Dynamic Content: Internet content that can be modified and uploaded quickly which keeps users ‘up-to-the-minute.’

Wikis: Content-driven sites which are editable by all participants and focus on harnessing the collective knowledge of all users.

Blogs: Short for ‘weblogs,’ blogs are simple, content-driven sites that are updated regularly.

Social Networking Elements: Web 2.0 applications embedded in web sites that enable users to uniquely identify and form connections with one another.

Web 2.0: An umbrella term that refers to an assortment of advances in internet technologies, marked by increases in rich media, dynamic content, social networking elements, and distributed contributions.

Social Networking Sites (SNS): Web-based platforms which enable many individuals to create individual profiles, find and connect with other users.

Rich Media: Media, particularly images, video and sound, conveyed via internet technologies that provides a deeper user experience than simple text.

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