I am always nervous when I place “Web 2.0” in or around my title.
Why do I hold this fear?
Firstly, because there is a great risk of the term detracting from the foundation of marketing theory and practise upon which my strategy development work in this space is based. This is because there are many “lightweight” Web 2.0 types getting around these days, who really just want to have a fun job where they can spend most of their days chatting with their friends and “adoring publics” online. I’ve rescued a number of unsuspecting clients from some of them. Hey, it is great work if that is what you want and you can get it, but it is not always tied to the actual business outcomes needed by the person paying the bill!
One horror story I remember is of a dedicated Web 2.0 cum PR agency which rebranded itself to the initials of the owner’s name preceded by the hash tag (#). This is a common device used to theme comments in Twitter. How cool? How hip? How disastrous! It only took a few minutes to realise that this combination of hash tag and letters was a common abbreviation for a slang reference to a very private part of the female anatomy :-0 Oh yes, now you know why I protect clients from the funsters.
Another reason for the fear is that having been at the forefront of helping small business understand and use the various tools in the “Web 2.0” space since late 2005, I believe the term is getting a little long in the tooth. It has also been savaged by network security and HR firms looking for cheap and easy media coverage. They just bundle every excess of negligence and sloth humans are capable of and blame Web 2.0 tools. Lazy journalists and shock jocks then run with it because it makes another easy story where they can sound all hip and “with it”.
So why have I used Web 2.0 in my title?
The short answer is because it is a term with a fairly broad understanding and it emphasises the “social” edge of an online marketing strategy.
As you might have seen on my “Marketer” page, I firmly believe marketing is only authentic when it helps a firm place the customer at the centre of its universe. I believe this understanding is central to making sense of the Web 2.0 world. It gives us a sound compass for discerning what is most likely to be considered useful, relevant content to share with people online, as well as guide us to a useful, relevant method for doing so. Web 2.0 is certainly not a place for one-size-fits-all messaging or methodology!
If you are a fellow “Steve Davis” working in this field somewhere else in the world, leave a comment and link.