Monthly Archives: November 2012

Web 2.0 Privacy Examined

The transition to Web 2.0 over the past few years has benefited a lot of people, services, and businesses. We are now more connected than we have ever been. This is making life, social networking, business, and communication far easier than it ever has been in the past.

Entire businesses and industries have sprung up from the adoption of Web 2.0 and this is definitely good for the internet and consumers in general. But there have been some problems associated with the Web 2.0 movement.

A recent article by Olan Ahern by the Resource for Security Executives, CSO, discusses one problem that has gotten worse since Web 2.0 began: privacy.

According to Olan “developments in social media and two-way communication channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, have made social privacy somewhat non-existent.” The privacy issue in today’s Web 2.0 dominated internet is new grounds for society in general. Never before has there been so much information so easily accessible about anyone who is active on the web.

What’s even scarier is the fact that Olan provides some statistics to back up his claim that privacy is a serious problem now. He found that “85 percent of businesses have experienced a data security breach” as one example. Any data breaches mean that people can gain access to the vast amount of private data that are kept on servers at these companies.

There is certainly a great deal more work to be done in the privacy area of the net. Companies and individuals need to be aware that as we continually become more connected that our information does as well. Taking steps to secure your private information is important.

For advice about handling your private information online, take a look at the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s list of 12 ways to protect your privacy. It can’t hurt to become a little more informed, especially as we continue to share more and more information on the web.

Web 2.0 Good for Productivity, but not Revolutionary

The concept of Web 2.0 has been championed by many brilliant technological and social thinkers. We’re all living in a world where the ideas of Web 2.0 take hold more intensely as each day passes. There are over a billion people on Facebook, and upwards of 500 million users of Twitter. Web sites are relying on interactivity and consumer and social interaction to succeed. Things have definitely changed since the internet of the late 1990s.

This is all for the best of course. As communication gets easier, our world gets smaller. It allows us to have better and more meaningful relationships personally and professionally. But the idea that it is a huge boost to our productivity is hard to prove.

Steven Strauss of Harvard explains in a blog post that we have gained a great deal socially from Web 2.0, but our productivity has not gained nearly as much. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, he just cautions that we won’t see a massive productivity boost all at once thanks to Web 2.0 tech and influence.

The process will be slow, like it was for industrial farming in the last century. Steven writes correctly that “Web 2.0 is an incremental communications improvement – not a revolutionary one.” Businesses are slowly changing and adapting, especially ones that relied on print and traditional distribution methods. Some won’t make it through and that’s unfortunate but inevitable.

Web 2.0 has done amazing things for societies all over the planet. But as Steven suggests, it’s a mistake to think that it is turning us into ultra-productive people. Much of the instant communication that Web 2.0 piggy-backed off of was already in place before it took off.

At the very least, Steven’s take on Web 2.0 is a great read. We recommend you check out the rest of the article, which is linked above. It is well-written and provides a great perspective on where Web 2.0 is right now in its development.

Not enough Businesses Adopting Web 2.0 Ideas

There’s an interesting article out in the Columbia Star that asks the question “Are businesses operating in social media denial?” This might be the case.

It’s unfortunate if it’s true, because the Web 2.0 revolution that has been around us for the past 10 years or more is obvious to anyone on the net. Everything has become linked together; social media, interactive websites, and user-generated content drive the internet right now. It looks to continue this way for years to come as well.

So why, according to the Columbia Star, do “72 percent of businesses [not] have a clear strategy … for social media activities” when “60 percent of Americans” use “some form of social media?” That’s a perplexing question for anyone.

Perhaps it’s because a lot of the marketing and ways of interacting with Web 2.0 technology is relatively unknown to a large number of businesses. Plus, it’s very hard to gather enough concrete information about the effects of social media to make it seem worthwhile for many businesses.

The problem with that thinking, is that it implies businesses think that social media and other Web 2.0-based platforms are expensive undertakings. They really aren’t. Having a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account doesn’t take more than a few minutes to a few hours every day to manage. The availability and access these provide combined with a strong company website  make Web 2.0 an invaluable asset for any business.

As we become increasingly more connected, it’s going to be important for businesses to get into social media and the web. Many have already jumped head-first into the web and are reaping benefits from their efforts. It’s a wonderful tool for branding, which is a vital marketing strategy.

It’s likely that businesses will adopt social media as time goes on. With more and more people interacting online, it’s inevitable that they’ll make the switch over to new ways of doing business and connecting with customers. Consumers are going to demand it and businesses have to respond.

Google Adding More Web 2.0 Features

In the world of tech, Google has always been an innovator and a company that pushes innovation. They were one of the first adopters and promoters of the Web 2.0 movement years ago. Since then they have certainly done their part to create a real Web 2.0 environment on the internet.

The web has never before been as interactive and user-based as it is today. Recently, Google has added a bunch of features that just scream Web 2.0 when you hear about them.

The latest feature is called JAM with Chrome. JAM with Chrome is a web application that “enables friends in different locations to play music together” using the Chrome browser. It’s a pretty impressive display of technology and user-engagement. Plus it’s just flat-out cool. Now you can jam with your friends from anywhere there’s an internet connection and a Chrome browser.

The Google Cultural Institute has been around for two years and has been adding more and more content each day. They’ve recently created an online exhibit for the fall of the Iron Curtain. This interactive, audio and visual exhibition is so good it’s almost like being in a museum yourself. You’ll see the quality the moment you visit.

A feature that Google released at the end of October is one that really showcases the power of Web 2.0. We’ve written about how the concepts of Web 2.0 like social media and user interaction are being used for disaster relief. Google decided to apply its data and tech savvy to start adding AMBER alerts in their search and maps applications. This is a great way to bring attention to missing children all over the country and the world. Hopefully it starts helping to find them too.

It’s good to see that Google continues to push the limits of what the internet can do for us. We always look forward to the next program, application, or invention that Google brings us!