Thesis: Web

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¶ … Web 2.0 Technologies & Applications

Assessing Web 2.0 Technologies and Applications

The Internet has revolutionized the means by which communication, collaboration, transactions and ultimately, interrelationships between and among individuals and between organizations occur on a global scale. In addition to the speed and alacrity of change the revolutionary approaches to communicating, collaboration, and transactions have fostered via Web 2.0 technologies, the long-held belief that communization of the Internet would be possible has found critical mass in social networking technologies (Bernoff, Li, 2008). In the context of this paper the collection of technologies referred to as Web 2.0 form the foundation of social networking, two terms initially defined by O'Reilly (2005).

There are the purely technological, the enterprise-wide Information Technologies (it), social, and architectural approaches to evaluating Web 2.0. The transition from Web 1.0, which has often been described as a "push" oriented publishing model that focused on the production of static websites and did not invite user participation is significantly different than the more collaborative, participate principles of Web 2.0 technologies and applications (Kirsner, 2007).

In the development of more collaborative applications there is also the need for creating Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems that can support role-based queries, portals and Internet sites (Galea, 2007). Content in all forms is emerging as one of the key determinants of how Web 2.0 technologies can accelerate the adoption of social networking applications over time (Bonabeau, 2009).

When Web 2.0 is evaluated from an Information Technologies (it) standpoint, the social networking applications build on this platform of technologies exemplifies the capabilities of the Internet's development, collaboration and publishing technologies. This area of using Internet-based collaborative technologies and platforms to enable more efficiency in terms of how companies operate has been terms Enterprise 2.0 (McAfee, 2006). This aspects of Web 2.0 shows unique potential for the streamlining complex business processes in companies and organizations globally. Research in the area of Enterprise 2.0 is focusing on how economies of scale can be created in addition to the Network Effect (Tellis, Yin, Niraj, 2009) where the majority of people in an organization have access to social networking applications, thereby increasing the velocity of information sharing and therefore making the organization more efficient over time. This Network Effect has also been studied in the context of Web 2.0-based social networking applications including Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace. One of the most fascinating areas of research today in Web 2.0 is in how companies are defining acceptable use policies, and even creating acceptable use policies for these Web 2.0 applications throughout their organizations. These applications, Facebook and Twitter especially, are being used in marketing campaigns and strategies as well.

The overlap of Web 2.0 technologies for both professional use in the form of marketing strategies on the one hand and the inherent interest personally on the part of employees is creating a potential liability of this entire new area of Internet applications (Christ, Berges, Trevino, 2007). Despite the negativity that surrounds the use of Web 2.0 technologies and the social networking applications that support then, there is ample evidence of how effective these applications are being proven to be in attracting, selling to and serving customers.

The collaborative benefits of social networking from a business strategy perspective have initially shown results in creating informal connections and collaborative frameworks through with companies can connect with and understand their customers' unmet needs (Eccleston, Griseri, 2008). The pitfalls and potential that social networking offers organizations need to be balanced with the growth trajectory of this area of Internet applications.

Assessing the Impact of Web 2.0's Technological Innovation

In order to put the impact of Web 2.0 into perspective from a societal standpoint, it must first be seen from the context of how the second generation of services that are available online, specifically designed for ensuring a high degree of collaboration, information sharing, and support for knowledge-based and financially-based transactions are re-ordering relationships and making it possible to achieve levels of trust and therefore deliver service and support much more efficiently than before. Studies of the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction in a Chinese Web 2.0-based companies show significant evidence of collaborative technologies leading to greater levels of customer satisfaction over time (Hsu, Hsu, 2008).

The distinction many researchers make is that the first generation of the Web is by nature passive, often relying on a publish-and-subscribe model (Kirsner, 2007). Despite the highly interactive nature of Web 2.0 there are critics, mostly from the ranks of senior managers who are responsible for ensuring the security of entire networks within companies who by nature are risk averse to new technological developments that have not proven to be effective in aligning with business strategies (Kirsner 2007). Skeptical of the new technologies that together comprise Web 2.0 in general with specific skepticism directed at social networking specifically, these Chief Information Officers (CIOs) have been slow to adopt these new collaborative platforms. Table 1 provides an overview of Web 2.0 applications, illustrating the role of social networking in the second generation of services available over the Internet.

TABLE 1:

WEB 2.0 APPLICATIONS

Applications

Descriptions

Blogs

Online diary or journal entry on the Internet, which primarily supports text, photo (photoblog), video (vlog), and audio (podcast) formats

Google, AOL, and Yahoo offer free blogging platforms

Mashup

Web service that gathers related content from more than one source

IBM's mashup applications enable project managers to match team resources with a map to identify the geographical locations of the resources

Peer-to-Peer Networking technique for effectively sharing music, audio, and text files

Napster and Gnutella are popular peer-to-peer networks

Real Simple Syndication (RSS)

Feed-based technology that, with the aid of an RSS reader, enables users to subscribe to newly released content such as text, Web pages, sound files, photos, and video

RSS feed may contain the full content, for example a podcast, or simply a link to the content

Social Media

Encompasses all online tools (blogs, podcasts, Wikis, social networks, vlogs) and Web sites enabling people to share content, such as text, audio, picture s, and videos

Popular social media sites include YouTube (video) and Flickr (photos)

Social Networking

Web sites that permit users to create online networks and communicate with friends and colleagues

Social networking sites include MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, and Friends Reunited, and business networking sites include LinkedIn and Ryze

Tagging

Allows users to bookmark or rate online content to share their recommendations with other online users

Typically used by publishers of media sites attempting to benefit from users' recommendations

Popularized by sites such as Digg and del.icio.us, which enable users to publish, categorize, and share their bookmarks

Wikis

Enables users to create and edit the content of a Web site, leveraging the expertise of online users

Consumer Wikis enable users to comment on content, in addition to editing content

Wikipedia, a community Wiki encyclopedia, includes approximately 1.3 million English-language articles

Sources: (Josh Bernoff, Charlene Li. 2008, et.al.) (Hauser, Tappeiner, Walde, 2007, p. 75); (Christ, Berges, Trevino, 2007, pp 13-14)

Taken together these applications form the collaboration platform that social networking applications and their variations including mash-ups and blogs rely on in order to accomplish high levels of collaboration. The proliferation of the series of Web 2.0 applications and their growth are defined more by communication patterns than adherence to taxonomies and architectures. Taken together the applications in Table 1 are evidence of the dynamics industry thought leaders Tim O'Reilly, founder and publisher of O'Reilly Books, and John Battelle, author and former design engineer lead at Google summarized in their definition of the market and user dynamics driving the next generation of web services called Web 2.0

Figure 1 is the map O'Reilly and Battelle created showing how both market and user dynamics are defining social networking (O'Reilly, 2005. et.al.)

Figure 1: Web 2.0 Explained

Benefits and Limitations of Web 2.0 Technologies

The two most prevalent social networking applications based on Web 2.0 technologies are blogs and Wikis. Both blogs and Wikis are considered consumer-generated media or content (Cronin, 2009) and as a result, have lengthy histories that parallel the growth of the rapid maturation of the Internet. Blog is short for web log, which is by definition a running commentary and analysis from a person writing the blog itself, often referred to as a blogger. The first blogs appeared in 1994, represented by text inserted into a web page. The highly narrative nature of blogs defied the restrictions of website technologies at the time and lead to the development of diary-like technologies in 1998, with the launch of Open Diary, LiveJournal in March, 1999 and Blogger.com in August, 1999. The period between 2001 to 2003 saw the legitimization of blogs as a source of news coverage and analysis, as the Iraq War became the sole focus of many blogs. Iraqi teenagers, American and allied soldiers, and working professionals including dentists and lawyers who lived in Baghdad all contributed regularly to blogs which provided an insight into the war not possible for watching CNN. Technology-related blogging flourished… [END OF PREVIEW]

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