Web 2.0: Not everyone knows…or cares

As I race ahead playing with and learning about seemingly every new Web 2.0 offering, I’ve experienced over-n-over again people I trust (those willing not to blow-wind-up-my-skirt, that is) who’ve let me know how impressed they are by my command of numerous types of technology, process and business models. “Oh my gosh Steve, how do you know so much about ___!?!” is a familiar refrain I hear and I’m just now learning to accept the positive feedback.

Here’s the deal: I don’t think I’m some special Internet/Web expert since I’m always in awe of others who know more than I do; of crowds of thought leaders I rub elbows with while we brainstorm pushing against the membrane of the future; of developers who know the depth and breadth of coding whose talent I equate with a great artist (or as Picasso said, “There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.” I’m fortunate to know a lot of thought leaders and transformers of yellow spots in to the sun which keeps me humble, but also makes me realize how much I don’t know rather than be grateful for what I am fortunate to have stuffed into my brain.

Another thing that’s happened in the last six months of 2007 is that much of what was magic and mysterious about Web 2.0 is becoming more mainstream and I’ve realized a gift I have is making the magic and mystery understandable to many. As more companies and thought leaders are blogging, creating YouTube video channels, podcasting, staking their claim in Facebook, offering their customers communication options (RSS, email, Twitter, SMS), and giving away free content and services in order to get attention and attract people to what they’re offering, there’s an increasing demand by those who aren’t doing so to get-in-the-game and stay competitive by moving in the same direction.

Seems like that demand should suck up all the supply of Web 2.0 companies, heh?

Ahh….no. My cautionary tale is a parallel experience these same last six months where I’ve been confronted DAILY with people stunned and amazed by all the Web 2.0 offerings out there. These are people that don’t know what RSS is (and don’t use it), really aren’t sure why they should bother to blog, know their business is being disrupted by the Internet but are overwhelmed as to what action to take, and are simply unable to understand — let alone strategically bet their business upon — any new social media, Internet or Web 2.0 direction.

So keep that in mind as you’re rolling out your new products and services. Don’t assume that people know and will use it. Prepare teaching and presentation tools to guarantee people can dig in and figure it out without help. Make certain your support and FAQ pages are well done and comprehensive. Consider adding a forum or other peer-to-peer support infrastructure. In other words anticipate most people don’t get it and act accordingly.

Because most people out there don’t know, don’t get it, or it’s not relevant to their lives and your success depends on helping them with all three.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.