In the interest of full disclosure, I'm 43 years old. It'll take all of the guesswork out of the rest of this post.
In coming up with a subject for today's post the discussion with our talented Marketing Strategist turned to Web 2.0, its values, the misconceptions thereof and the future of it in general. Throughout the conversation that little voice in my head kept showing up. You know the one. At first, I thought little voice was just in an amazingly good mood which fully accounted for the singing. But then I listened to it a little closer, and there it was, Carly Simon's Coming Around Again.
Ask me and there's nothing new about Web 2.0 except the packaging. User generated content. Social search. Certainly we've seen the sky high valuations before. Certainly there's nothing new about no one really knowing how to monetize these high value monoliths. Let's face it, it took Google more than one try to finally get it right and they borrowed from Overture's business model and frankly from AdAuction.com as well. (Anyone remember AdAuction.com?)
The web has always been about user generated content. That's never changed. I've got two words for you: Ya-hoo. Or how about Trip Advisor? E-bay. D-Moz. User generated content all. And each very successful in its own right.
MySpace. YouTube. Facebook. Craigslist. Not so much with the new. Not even so much with the innovative. Their successes hinged on the fact that they are deceptively simple and effective at putting the user experience into the user's hands. Desperately simple stuff, that.
And even that's not new. Remember when WYSIWYG was the buzzword? (You know how to WYSIWYG, don't you?) I'm oversimplifying here but Clay Christensen put it best with his theory on Disruptive Technologies which in essence states that a second generation company can usually innovate better than a first generation company. Think Microsoft versus IBM. Think Google versus Microsoft. Think Craigslist (online classifieds) versus newspapers (traditional classifieds).
But not new doesn't mean not valuable or useful. What it does mean is that everything old is new again. Classics are classics for a reason. They endure.
And the one thing that endures on the Internet is content. Content is king. Always has been, always will be. Packaging it, repurposing it, even reinventing it and giving it a second life that's just marketing.
YouTube is not the killer app. It's the content on YouTube that makes it what it is. Google is not the killer app. It's the content.
Content isn't coming around again. It's always been here. Search is about content. It's about trying to anticipate people's needs and giving it to them. On the organic side Buzz 2.0, er, Web2.0 is the next best thing but whether it's a podcast, vidcast, blog, article syndication or ratings, it's content.
Keep it relevant. Keep it current. But most of all, Keep It Simple, Silly. (KISS rock band circa yesteryear. Told ya I was 43.)
~ The (SEP) Guy