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The importance of Digital in Web 2.0

September 26, 2008

The internet isn’t going anywhere. With the obvious advent of blogs, social networking (social networking sites are more popular than porn sites), this digital extension of our lives is here to stay

But this is the new thing: the internet used to be all about websites. in the late 90’s, I used to visit www.suck.com, www.salon.com, and then fun Cool Sites of the Day that popped up.

They were all websites.

And other than the ones that were content based like Suck (gone) and Salon (turning more and more into a blog-like community), websites aren’t really part of web 2.0.

Think about it: is Google a website? Is Facebook a website? Is Twitter? Semantically, they are, but practically they are something different. It’s the intuitive difference between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica. You know there’s a difference, but other than one lets anyone change things and the other doesn’t, there isn’t that much of a difference.

But even though they all have http://www, there’s a huge difference. Because it’s teaching us that community means interaction. It doesn’t have to mean it only includes interaction.

There can still be places that simply write content. Alas, if only Google adwords was around when Suck was going strong, we’d still have it. We barely have Salon.

But this new digital era means brands can have a digital presence without having a website. This is what I wrote a while back:

“…the need to have a website for a local company has diminished as community platforms have emerged. A MySpace page isn’t overly designable, so Joe’s Pizzeria doesn’t have to try to out-design Pizza Hut. In fact, a MySpace or other social network site, is both an equalizer (all sites essentially look the same) and an advantage for the little local guy. Because the little local guy has the advantage of being local. And people tend to be more passionate about local places. And when people are more passionate, they are more likely to add Yelp reviews or link to and/or become fans with social networking sites.”

Social Networking offers the ability to excel locally using digital tools. Not websites. Tools. This is the importance of the internet on the local level. This is the promise.

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