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pushingrock.pngBy B.L. Ochman
Not to sound like a Pollyanna, but while lots of discussion is going on about the death of Web 2.0. I’m feeling very upbeat and encouraged about social media and marketing.
At last, my corporate clients, several of whom are Fortune 500 companies, are beginning to incorporate social media into their business. They’re using some fun tools in very serious ways. In fact, the changes they are making at my not-so-gentle urging, are fundamentally changing the way they do business. While this post is indeed shameless self-promotion, I’m using these examples because I know them so well.
Publishing example – for a major print publisher of magazines and text books, I pointed out that the marketing directors in several of their divisions had not met. Not only that, they were often working on the same goal but not cooperating or even aware of what the other was doing. What a waste of time, talent, money and resources.
I pointed out that there definitely are people in their company (and in all big companies) who are very much up to date on new media, technology and trends, and who are chomping at the bit to use that knowledge at work. Fail to challenge and empower them, and you soon lose talented people.
After much initial trepidation, they now to talk to each other, meet to discuss ideas, and cooperate on projects using an internal wiki. They’ve saved literally thousands of dollars by not duplicating projects, and created bigger ideas through collaboration. Cost of the wiki? Zero. The software was free.
Manufacturing example – a major international manufacturer uses thousands of dollars worth of messengers, postage, and Fed Ex to send print matter, photographs, and CDs to customers, its agencies, and consumers.
By uploading images and videos to password-protected private groups in Flickr and BlipTV, material is available 24/7 worldwide. The cost of bandwidth? Zero. These tools are free to use.
Not as simple as it sounds
Maybe these things sound supremely simple to you because you have been working ahead of the curve for years. But to behemoth companies with tens of thousands of employees, any kind of change is slow and difficult. Using new tools requires a leap of faith. Believing you should fix something that ain’t broke is not so simple.
Bottom line – for these two companies and others with whom I’ve been working, these changes lead to others, and before you know it, there’s a sea change.
What makes it possible? The willingness to be more transparent. The willingness to listen and change…. Web 2.0
Chris Shipley described the phenomenon perfectly:

The past year for Web 2.0 has been a marvelous ride. But the better news is that the next few years are going to be even better. Strip away the trivial and you’ll see that the concepts of the Social Web are fundamentally changing the way people work and play together. Pull back the face of Web 2.0 and you’ll see a new paradigm for computing: a highly distributed information architecture that distributes not just data, but also the power and authority to leverage it. It’s a highly distributed information architecture that requires substantial innovation in infrastructure, technology, security, and services to support it.
The legacy of Web 2.0 is the technologies, concepts, and ideology that defined and built the social Web. These live on as the foundation of the next great shift in computing.