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People. The Web. Hollywood.

Human Nature Drives Web 2.0 Communities


A major value of social media is that it empowers people to strengthen their existing relationships, build new ones, and communicate more efficiently than in the Web 1.0 world. As a regular Facebook user, I got to thinking about what it takes for companies to fully capitalize on the value of social media.

Traditional marketing would have us think that companies “simply” need to find the most effective and efficient ways to ensure their messages are being communicated accurately and consistently both online and offline. That’s not inaccurate – it’s just incomplete in 2007. Our Web 2.0 world is different because today’s online communities are much more complex – not only are there one-to-one relationships, there are also one-to-many, many-to-many and different degrees in between. Today’s Web communities also communicate much quicker and more frequently with each other than users in the Web 1.0 era. And even five years ago we didn’t have the level of personalization and interactivity that we have today, not to mention the sheer number of people online.

But a more fundamental reason for the emergence of Web 2.0 communities is our nature to be social and to express ourselves. In other words, people want to unleash their creativity in a social forum. To me, this is the essence of Web 2.0. It’s not so much about what technology we use (although that certainly does play a role in how we communicate) as it is about how human nature drives the development of new technologies. The fact that a new social media tool is developed nearly every other day illustrates how we’re constantly tweaking technology to better fit our social communication and productivity needs. In this sense, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, Jaiku, Digg and Del.icio.us represent only the beginning of what’s to come in social networking applications and services.

One interesting example of the ‘arriving future’ is Videoegg, a start-up that helps online communities create, publish, and monetize short-form videos via its video advertising network. The company’s ‘invitation and engagement’ ad model is a major differentiator and reflects a fundamental theme in Web 2.0 communities: user choice. Check out Videoegg CMO Troy Young’s recent article for some key principles about developing alternative ads that respect user choice while still providing advertisers with the level of control they’ve come to expect from traditional ad models.

On the PR front, you can check out what Cohn & Wolfe has been doing to build buzz for its clients Mixercast, Friction.tv, and Panasonic Toughbooks by leveraging videos in online communities.

Ultimately, engaging Web 2.0 communities and maximizing the value of social media is not about technology – it’s about understanding the needs and desires of human behavior. And that requires companies to hire marketers who have a thorough understanding of how online communities are built and maintained.

Categories: Social Media, Web 2.0
  • //chartwellvideowatch.com achartwell

    From a technology standpoint, ScanScout is actually further ahead in online video advertising. ScanScout provides a three way, aural, visual, and text/data, tagging and filtering system—it is the only company in this space to offer all three. It matches contextually relevant ads with all types of video media, including UGC video media. With consumers evenly split on trading short ads for free content, see the recent Online Publishers Association and Piper Jaffray studies, I am betting that contextual in-video “opt-in” ads will be the norm in the next few years. In general, better funding will lead to an increase in online video production whether it is UGC or professional video specifically produced for online channels—and that is a very good thing for producers and consumers.

  • http://ericdoyle.wordpress.com Eric Doyle

    Good info and points, Andrea. Sorry if it’s seemed like I dropped off the face of the planet. I’ve just been busy to make a long story short. Agreed — so long as consumers can have a choice, targeted online “opt-in” video ads should continue to take off. It really seems like a win-win for all as you point out.