On business and Web 2.0

I was reading the latest McKinsey Global Survey on how businesses are using Web 2.0. While senior executives claimed to be supportive of collaborative technologies and interaction, less than half the respondents were actually using or considering social networking (37%), RSS (35%), podcasting (35%), wikis (33%) and blogs (32%). The McKinsey report said that “more than one-third labeled them (Web 2.0 trends) experimental”. The survey reported that businesses had the greatest interest in web services (78%), P2P networks (34%), and collective intelligence (30%).

So if web services are still the overwhelmingly preferred communication tool for business, why isn’t there greater attention given to the words and content of corporate web sites? Content management expert, Gerry McGovern, emphasises the importance of words in web publishing: “Words are incredibly powerful. Because there are so many of them around, because we read so many of them everyday, we sometimes forget their power, their influence. If words have an extraordinary power in ordinary life, they have an even more extraordinary power on the Web”.

In static and controllable domains like internets and intranets, words and content management can make a significant difference to delivering real value to an organisation. At the same time, as businesses become more willing to adopt Web 2.0 technologies to improve openness, feedback and interaction, the platform will need to use another set of words for this very different conversation.

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