In 1999, Information Architect Darcy DiNucci wrote in her article "Fragmented Future", that the Web as we know it, is a fleeting thing, in only its embryonic stage. It was then that the term "Web 2.0" was coined. Tim O'Reilly, the founder of the O'Reilly Media, hosted the Web 2.0 Conference in 2004, to acknowledge the second generation of Internet. However, Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web had contested Web 2.0 as "new" web technologies and instead refered to it as "A piece of jargon" - since the web had always meant to have Web 2.0 values in the first place.
And since then the times have only been changing. Web 2.0 has found wide spread reassurance with the ever rising popularity of Internet giants such as Google Search, Wikipedia, Blogger, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Del.icio.us, Facebook etc. The effects of Web 2.0 is only evident in the popular Wikipedia Vs Britannica comparision. While the 2007 edition of Britannica Encyclopedia boasted an author count of 4411, most of whom contributed single articles, Wikipedia had an activiely contributing population of 700,000 odd !
The altruistic contributions of the general internet junta even led to TIME magazine declaring "You" as the "Person of the Year" for the year 2006. The article called "Web 2.0" as a massive social experiment which saw internet world working for nothing and beating the pro's at their own game.
Which Doors open ?
Previously, dissemination of information was done in a strict publisher-subscriber model. A source creates information, which is processed in a presentable manner and dispatched to the reader, in the form of newsletters, mailers etc. The room for interaction and the audience count being limited, the scope for monopoly of information was high. Talking about new products meant reaching out via a well defined process.
This meant user base all over the world uploading, editing and managing information every second of the day! Somehow, the raw data about the war in Iraq or Tharoor's tweets on the daily routine and other inanities became preferred over traditional news. People were informed of the rain on the other side of their walls via tweets and information on fire brigade dispatchment was all done via twitter! In Bangalore, people tweeted from inside Carlton towers while it burned. Reddit users popularized technologies and practices and had fun while doing it all.
The new face of Evangelisation
Since the last few years, more and more companies have found the blogosphere, RSS etc, a rewarding way of evangelising products. A way of throwing open the gates for constructive feedback that alpha testing could've only dreamt of. Evan Williams' Blogger and Twitter projects are two such ways of reaching out to customers and beyond.
Social Media and web 2.0 is now one of the more powerful forms of media and it only makes sense to leverage this platform to speak about products, features and share content with customers, both present and prospective. Del.icio.us, Digg, IBM myDeveloperWorks, Reddit, Twitter and Facebook are perfect avenues to evangelise.
IBM's myDeveloperWorks is one of the premier social networking sites to connect with technology enthusiasts, blog about new trends and be informed on a variety of events by joining the different groups on myDw.
Del.icio.us allows people to bookmark any page anywhere on the internet and thus, has brought about what we now know as "Tag Folksonomy". Del.icio.us has following from many a technical enthusiasts and is one of the main wings of the social network.
Digg and Reddit are sites of content discovery on the internet where links can be posted which allows readers to upvote / downvote the links.
All of these avenues present a good platform for evangelizing over social media and due to their popularity, they already possess a huge user base.
We at IBM TXSeries for Multiplatforms, have been active on Twitter for the past year distributing facts, tips, sharing links and addressing queries. This has helped as a good platform to notify customers with new features, releases and provide general information.
Evangelize your product the Web 2.0 way today, for better interaction with customers, direct feedback and for building a following!