April 29, 2009

Web 2.0 investment strategy

Outperform rivals by using Adoption Cycle

Christopher S. RollysonIn the Web 2.0 Adoption Curve, I asserted that executives had a career-defining opportunity to leapfrog competitors by using risk management to manage through the Web 2.0 adoption cycle. The cycle will also feature a backlash against—and investment gap in—Web 2.0 beginning next year.

Here I’ll discuss in more detail how to avoid the downdraft and outperform competitors over the next several years. Web 2.0 will transform organizations and society because it changes how people discover, build and maintain relationships. All organizations need to understand these dynamics, so they can become stronger and more relevant.

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April 18, 2009

Web 2.0 Adoption Curve, 2009-2015

A blueprint for social networking investments

Christopher S. RollysonWeb 2.0 and social networks have gained perceptible mindshare during the first quarter of 2009, and conversations with clients, fellow speakers at conferences and online conversations are clearly showing the reappearance of a familiar adoption curve. Here I’ll discuss the Adoption Curve for Web 2.0 and Social Networks and provide rough milestones, so you can use it to gauge your investments in Web 2.0. You can avoid some of the extremes that the majority of the market will experience.

In addition, I will also show how Web 2.0 provides a rare opportunity to develop competitive advantage ahead of the market.

Having been on the front lines of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting’s E-Business Strategy practice during Web 1.0 (the Internet bubble), I am not surprised to see the familiar bubble pattern developing, so this is a rare opportunity to recognize it and produce tremendous value by avoiding some of the mistakes most companies make when adopting disruptive technology.

What I want to draw your attention to is not the disruptive technology itself, but rather the market’s perception of the technology. The Web 1.0 bubble was caused by distorted perceptions of the technology, what it could do, and when it could produce value. Companies’ perceptions of the value it could deliver were unrealistic. However, the Internet has produced fantastic value; it just took longer than most people thought. Therefore, a rare opportunity presents itself: What if executives could understand the Web 2.0 Adoption Curve and make more realistic investments?

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March 19, 2009

Netvibes: The widget factory

JD LasicaHere’s a recent interview I did with Netvibes CEO Freddy Mini in the company’s San Francisco offices. Widgets (little pieces of code that bring in real-time data) are becoming increasingly important in the Web 2.0 world — to individuals, companies and organizations — and Netvibes has been an early pioneer in the field.

Netvibes provides widgets and personalized start pages to 2.5 million active users. You can access 146,970 different widgets — all free — in the Netvibes Ecosystem section. Many widgets have only a small, tightly focused readership, but others have broader appeal. For example, the Technology Review widget, featuring headlines and images that accompany recent articles, has had 657,077 installs. (If you’re logged into Netvibes, you can install it here.)

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January 24, 2009

How to Web 2.0-enable your live event

David SparkProducing and attending corporate events, like conferences and trade shows, is not cheap. But people still ‘attend in’ and ‘pay by’ the thousands for the unforeseen value to be had in education and new business relations.

Whatever reputation develops from your event, everyone can benefit from layering social tools (some call it Web 2.0 technology) to enhance the connectedness and interactivity among all interested parties. Event-based social media is in line with the goals of attendees and event producers: to improve physical logistics, distribute information, connect people, and enhance face-to-face conversations.

If you’re producing an event, begin by asking yourself what services, often free, can I take advantage of to extend the event’s social value for those people attending, those who can’t attend, and everyone who wants to look back after the fact. You should look towards Web 2.0 tools, those that behave like socialized desktop applications, to be the catalyst to spread the knowledge and enhanced interaction among all interested parties, whether they’re physically present or not. An event’s information and conversation can be distributed via a variety of means: bulletin boards, photos, video sharing, recorded discussions, news reports, live wikis, quick updates, opinions of event goers, Q&A, group chat, reminders, recommendations, how-to advice, maps, and directions to the next event.

Historically, social networks and like-minded Web 2.0 tools empower users to keep in touch with the thousands of people they’ve collected in their contact database. Without applications like social networks, blogs, micro-blogs, photo sharing, podcasts, video blogs, and of course email it would be impossible for anyone to stay in touch with so many people.

When you meet someone at an event, follow through takes effort, a lot of effort. The communication drop-off rate following a conference is huge. You start with good intentions, trade business cards with the promise of following up. But if you don’t make a note of your meeting and send a message immediately after the conference, the moment is long forgotten. Luckily, Web 2.0 tools offer platforms for attendees and producers to take advantage of communications before, during, and after an event.

Read the full article

I offer my full article “How to Web 2.0-enable your live event.” Read online or download and print the PDF. The article offers advice for producers on how to extend the functionality of a live event by socializing a content network with Web 2.0 tools and enabling conversation around it. Plus it includes a checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

January 12, 2009

’49 amazing social media, Web 2.0 and Internet stats’

Adam Singer at The Future Buzz: 49 Amazing Social Media, Web 2.0 And Internet Stats. Excerpt:

1 trillion: approximate number of unique URLs in Google’s index.


Wikipedia

2,695,205 - the number of articles in English on Wikipedia

684,000,000 – the number of visitors to Wikipedia in the last year

75,000 - the number of active contributors to Wikipedia

YouTube

70,000,000 – number of total videos on YouTube  (March 2008)

200,000 – number of video publishers on YouTube (March 2008)

100,000,000 – number of YouTube videos viewed per day

Blogosphere

133,000,000 – number of blogs indexed by Technorati since 2002

346,000,000 – number of people globally who read blogs (comScore March 2008)

900,000 – average number of blog posts in a 24 hour period

77% - percentage of active Internet users who read blogs

Twitter

1,111,991,000 – number of Tweets to date (see an up to the minute count here)

3,000,000 – number of Tweets/day

Facebook

150,000,000 – number of active users

170 - number of countries/territories that use Facebook

2,600,000,000 – number of minutes global users in aggregate spend on Facebook daily

100 – number of friends the average user has

700,000,000 – number of photos added to Facebook monthly

52,000 – number of applications currently available on Facebook

April 17, 2007

At the first Web 2.0 Expo

Eric Schmidt

I missed the first two days of the Web 2.0 Expo (created because the Web 2.0 Summit proved so popular), so I can’t make any general observations other than this one: It’s a shame that there was no interaction between the speakers and the "former" audience in the main hall. Unlike the preceding Web 2.0 summits, not a microphone to be had.

I always love the State of the Blogosphere updates we get from Technorati founder/CEO Dave Sifry. This year he offered a different twist and was paired with Hitwise head of research Bill Tancer.

The twist was that it’s too limiting to describe this explosion of user-created media as "the blogosphere." We’ve seen an explosive growth in videos, photos, podcasts and other materials. So Dave now calls it "the Live Web" (a term borrowed from Technorati board member Doc Searls) or "the next-generation web." Tancer called it "the participatory Web, or Web 2.0."

Sure thing, guys. Or, how about the Social Web? :~) Live Web doesn’t mean much, other than no apparitions posting here. Social at least imparts a theme of interactivity and conversation.

Tancer cited an astonishing 668% growth for the top participatory web sties from April 2005 — when 2% of U.S. Internet visits went to these sites — to today’s figure of 12%, measured just last week. We’re talking about sites like Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, Ourmedia, where users create the content.

Two years ago, Wikipedia was more popular than Microsoft’s Encarta encyclopedia site by a factor of about 3 to 1. Today, visits to Wikipedia outnumber Encarta visits 3,400 to 1.

In the photo-sharing category, 56% of visits to photo sites go to participatory photo sites. Photobucket rules the roost with a 41% market share, Slide has 5% (it does??), Flickr has 4%, Imageshack 3%, Rock you! 3%, and the remaining 44% is divided among the also-runs. It always amazes me when I see these numbers: I’m a Flickr fanatic, and I can’t understand how 10 times as many people use Photobucket instead. (Oh, yeah, OK. MySpace. Baaaa-baaaa!)

Participants vs. consumers: The 1-9-90 rule

The most fascinating numbers to come out of the conference came when Tancer and Sifry said it was time to cast aside the 80-20 rule in favor of a new paradigm. The 80-20 rule states — well, let Wikipedia tell it: "for many phenomena, 80% of the consequences stem from 20% of the causes." Or, in practical Web 2.0 terms: eight out of 10 visitors to a Website will be passive consumers, while 20 percent are generally hands-on creators and producers.

Said Tancer: "It’s not the 80-20 rule anymore. It’s 1-9-90." Spread across the Web, generally 1 percent of visitors are creators and producers, 9 percent are "highly involved participators" (don’t ask me why the word "participants" isn’t good enough), and 90 percent are consumers or viewers.

This played out in a Hitwise study of visits to three popular sites:

At YouTube, only 0.16% of visits were related to uploading a video during the course of the study. At Flickr, only 0.2% of visits were related to uploading photos. The percentage was markedly higher at Wikipedia, where 4.59% of visits were related to editing articles on the site.

And while the popular perception is that this is a youth-driven phenomenon, not so. Younger people were doing most of the viewing and older people were doing most of the creating. At Wikipedia, it broke down like this:
• 4.6% of 18- to 24-year-olds edit the site;
• 13.5% of ages 25-34;
• 27.3% of ages 35-44;
• 54.6%, age 45 plus (combined the last 2 categories because they were up so briefly)

A similar trend emerges at YouTube:

• A shockingly low 1.9% of 18- to 24-year-olds upload videos to the video sharing site, compared with 24.1% of ages 25-34 and 35.6% of ages 35-44 (again, don’t have the full stats). 

The 25- to 55-year-old age groups do the heavy lifting.

When it comes to viewers on YouTube, it breaks down 51% male vs. 49% female among viewers, but 60% male to 40% female among participants. The gender gap is even more pronounced at Wikipedia: 52% male vs. 48% female among readers, but 76% male vs. 24% female among participants who dive in and edit the site. (The strong-willed women readers/participants of the Social Media blog are exceptions to this general rule, of course.)

More Sifry: 37% of all the 72 million blogs that Technorati tracks are in japanese; 33% are in English. A fast-growing segment: Farsi (at 1%), the language of bloggers in Iran. More than 237 million items have been tagged by the creators. About 37% of users are using tags, or keywords. More than 125,000 posts appear each day.

Eric Schmidt

Some notable quotes and insights from Google CEO/billionaire/good guy Eric Schmidt (that’s one of the photos I shot of him above):

He told an amusing story about how the Australian Broadcasting Company supposedly sent a takedown notice under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act to Google, which promptly took down the company’s videos from Youtube last Friday. By Monday it was discovered that the takedown notice was actually sent by a 16-year-old Australian teenager. The videos were put back up.

Schmidt said Google would soon release a new tool called Claim Your Content, allowing the copyright owner to monitor videos appearing on the YouTube site and automating the takedown process. No audience questions were allowed, so I couldn’t ask if that technology would be made available to other video hosting sites.

"Network neutrality is very important for the next generation of enterpreneurs. They’re going to need a network that connects everyone. It’ll be an enormous setback if we lose that."

"The biggest growth areas are going to be in the mobile space. Mobile, mobile mobile. People treat their mobile phones as extensions of their persons. … The next generation of 3G and 4G networks will have tremendous power."

What does he think about what he wakes up each day? "The thing i think about at google is scaling. In order to win in the Internet, you have to have a scaling strategy. So I’m constantly thinking about more data centers [which he referred to a  couple of times as "super-computers"), more fiber optics, more people. It's amazing to think how early we are in that process. We're just at the beginning of getting information that's been kept in small networks or privae networks onto these platforms."

And, last but not least, he flat out pledged Google's commitment to data portability -- the ability for users to take their data (search history, etc.) to another service if they're not happy with their experience at Google.

"We are committed to user portablity. we'll never trap user data. We want you to be able to take the information [collected by] Google and go somewhere else."

That’s a customer-centric promise we’ll be happy to hold them to.