Sure, the drivers that are changing internet use today are partly due to the developments that have emerged from the technology landscape in the last few years. Yet, the real change is being driven by people, not technology or businesses. The consumer is all-powerful in the internet's progress as demands and expectations increase and change the way the web is used.
Consumers can now bookmark, tag, blog, recommend, critique and create on the web more freely. The traditional model has been inverted and today it's the consumer, not the marketer, who calls the shots.
The drivers behind this revolution are all rooted in richer user experience and are having a radical effect on the business models of today and the future. As broadband take-up rises exponentially, the amount of high-quality content on the web also rises. Many of these drivers are part of a phenomenon that has been christened web 2.0; a term loosely used to describe sites that rely on user participation to be successful.
Do you know how your customers engage with one another? More importantly, do you engage with them on their terms?
Web 2.0 shifts a company's online role away from knowing, dictating and telling. Today, nothing is finite; everything is in process and the company's role is to learn, suggest and, above all, listen. This is a big shift in how organisations are expected to interact with users. But, this change need not be dramatic and may simply involve that one extra button that allows a customer to rate a product or email a friend, which gives the user a voice. So, where do you go from here?
The critical next step is to establish a web 2.0 strategy and creative vision, and take steps towards a total, interactive online experience. If you've already embarked on this journey, you're ahead of competitors who remain in denial. It is critical that companies initiate ways of engaging with consumers on their level to succeed as the web continues to unfold, fulfilling their desire and belief that more is always possible.