We've all heard of Web 2.0, but what does it mean? I think of it as the Interactive Internet. It encourages collaboration between users and is driving the trend towards more interactive websites.
The Internet as we have come to know it has been around for over ten years now. To date it has principally been used for searching, browsing and reading static information.
Now it is evolving into something quite different. We are now in what is being coined the “Web 2.0 era”, where the Internet is now about interactivity.
No longer do Internet users want to just look at and read a page they want to interact, leave comments, upload music or photos and be involved in the Internet community.
The Internet is no longer solely the domain of the technical expert. With the increase in user friendly interfaces, it is now possible to get involved even if you have limited technical knowledge.
What tools make up Web 2.0?
Web 2.0 can be defined as the set of technologies which enable collaboration and sharing between Internet users. These can be web pages, web-based communities or hosted services such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs and podcasts.
These tools, such as blogs, make it easier for anyone to get their material online, even if they have no knowledge of HTML.
- Blogs are online diaries or journals created by individuals or companies and stored on the Internet. Blogs generally consist of text and images appearing in chronological order with the most recent entry shown at the top of the page.
- Wikipedias are online encyclopaedia maintained by users. They allow people to contribute to and add definitions or topics.
- Social networking include sites like MySpace and Facebook. Here, people put up a public profile about themselves. They can add their favourite photos, music and website links and choose to share these with friends only or the general public.
- Podcasting. A 'podcast' is an audio file or series of audio files that can be shared with others. You can subscribe to a podcast in much the same way as you subscribe to an email newsletter.
Do I need Web 2.0 for my business?
When developing a website, you'd do well to consider not only the look and content, but also the user experience.
An interactive website can give prospective customers another way to interact and make contact with you. Whether through live chat or feedback or comments on your blog, you have the opportunity to make contact with a new person and encourage communication.
Melissa Norfolk is an Internet expert who speaks to business, school and community groups about online marketing, email newsletters, effective use of the Internet, finding what you need online and Internet safety. This article first appeared on www.flyingsolo.com.au, Australia's online community for solo business owners.