In my last article, I talked about how the younger generation’s usage of the internet was driving a lot of the technologies that make up what is now called Web 2.0. The Gen Y and Internet Generation’s desire to stay connected with their friends has led to many social networking sites like MySpace and Flickr. Their need for chatting, instant messaging, and video has changed the way people interact and communicate through the net and through wireless devices. Blogging and tagging have become a widely popular mechanism for sharing and searching for relevant information. Kids’ websites, like Webkinz, have introduced very young children to online collaboration, rich media applications, and online shopping.
All of the above items are driving up the popularity of rich interfaces usually created in Macromedia Flash or by using AJAX. Now that developers are able to build robust, fully functional browser based applications, the desktop is becoming less important (Microsoft is Dead). I ended the discussion warning that managers need to “think like” or pay attention to what the younger generation is doing on the web.
Why? Look how technologies like portals and instant messaging started. Plumtree Portal (now BEA Aqualogic), was founded by then 25 year old Glen Kelman who spawned the portal idea from his usage of My Yahoo pages. Instant messaging, which is now widely used in many corporations spawned from internet chatting. Do you see where I am going? Today, blogging and tagging are already catching on as great tools for knowledge sharing. Many folks in management who are not up to speed with the world of “Web 2.0” look down on staffers who use these types of tools because they don’t understand the significance of it. If managers would start paying attention to what millions of people are doing on the web they would realize that technologies like social networking will soon start revolutionizing the way companies communicate with each other. It might take a few years for this to catch on but it will.
So I conclude this two part article with this message. Start thinking like the younger generation and go out and explore the tools that millions of kids are using on the net today. More and more companies are starting Web 2.0 initiatives so start educating your management now before they get left behind.
For more info, the best blog I have seen by far on this topic is Don Hinchcliffe’s Enterprise Web 2.0.