Last night, the AMA Boston Chapter had a talk on how Web 2.0 and social media are effecting brands. It was given by Steve Mulder of Molecular. The talk was quite good, for energetic, and he makes some darn good PowerPoint slides….
I wanted to share some of the key takeaways that at least I got out of the talk.
1) First and foremost, throughout the entirety of the speech, very little focus was given to the negative examples of how social media has effected various companies, which I found refreshing.
2) His very loose description of what “Web 2.0” included the following four characteristics: User content, Openness, Rich interface and New digital interactions.
3) He highlighted the difference between using Web 2.0 as a Site Augmentor (for instance, corporate blog) vs a Site Co-creation (for instance, Facebook, a collaboration of those infamous “masses” out there).
4) Regardless of the medium, it needs to be integrated into the overall experience for the user, it can’t just “be” there.
5) Blogs, if you’re going to use them effectively, must be set up with a conversation in mind. They are most effective if they’re two-way
6) He brought up a site quickly called Rate My Teacher (I don’t think I need to explain). It brought up a question in my head that I don’t have an answer to: What do you do when you have a group such as teachers, usually much less connected to all things internet than we are, who just plain don’t know that sites like these exist? And the administration doesn’t know? Is that fair? Should there be an initiative within institutions like this to educate people on what’s out there?
7) Steve made an off-hand remark about his desire to see “more websites like that,” meaning more websites that were a collaboration of “the masses.” It led me to my question in the Q&A: How do you address the fact that there is still a desire by some to have an “expert opinion” amidst all the blogging? Is this being incorporated effectively? [using the example of the academic backlash against sites like Wikipedia]. His answer was that this wasn’t going away, this desire for credibility, but that certain people are beginning to incorporate it (and some better than others), into their sites.
8) My own thought: You want to create an open space for conversation, you don’t want to create the conversation it self. Think of it as a starting point for a larger discussion.
9) A few problems that corporations have found in trying to use Web 2.0 techniques: getting full commitment from everyone, realizing the actual resources it will take (including devoted time!), lack of an accurate measurement system (how is it effecting sales exactly?), and making it too much about promotion as opposed to customer education. His suggestions: start small, experiment, and get full commitment from your team or subteam. Most especially, don’t do it “just because.” There has to be passion and genuine motivation there. If not, your readers can tell.
10) Lastly, it got me thinking yet again about a past post I had on Craigslist. I still ask: What do we do when your purpose is to have a social community run by the masses, but it’s the masses who begin to make the site less and less effective either over time or with the influx of users? Do you just let the forces which will be, be? Do you cap membership, or put restrictions on usage, and if so, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Does this begin to create definitive life spans for Web 2.0 tools? Or is it still just a matter of “how well you do it?”
Time will tell I suppose.