When the internet was first conceived of by the U.S. Naval Department in the 1960s, I am sure they never thought it would become such an important tool for advertising businesses in less than 50 years. It has truly become a tool of the common people, shaped by their needs and to their needs as no other government project or human tool ever conceived of by man
As much as we decry advertising on the ‘net…the banners that pop up unwanted on our screens, the spam ads that invade our electronic mailboxes and the “free” websites and tools that come with the price of plastering their ads on your monitor, we continue to use it, ignoring their barrage and pushing ever forward in making it an experience as good as having your friends and contacts in your living room.
When I was a child in the 1960s, I was so starved for friends, I cried when the one or two in the neighborhood moved away. My parents had settled down in a housing suburb of San Mateo that had been built in 1946 for the World War II vets that came home, so there were very, very few people at all under 40 years of age. I learned quickly that friends who moved away were not as devoted to keeping in touch by phone or letter.
I think that’s why my generation was determined to draw it’s wayward friends and family back together through the invisible strings of the internet’s connections.
Born out of this came a strengthening of the yearnings to gather in social groups on the ‘net. We saw how easy it was to do now via email, and then we created groups on Yahoo, MSN and Google. We found we could gather together in one room and hold virtual parties without worry of physical distance or time of day or night. Chat Rooms came next, hosted by these “big three” internet giants, and Instant Messaging appeared soon after.
While the Big Three were puzzling out what was the next step in evolution, MySpace snuck onto the scene and was quickly claimed as the territory of the younger generation. It has the draw of new and upcoming music bands, and once you staked a claim, you could add your thoughts, photos, games and tell everyone when you were in a happy or foul mood. We were now closer to that perfect social networking environment, but we were quite there yet.
YouTube came then…a way to get your video out there, no matter what the subject or how weird your taste. Blogging was born, it’s infancy seen in the MySpaces out there.
People were also taking an old standard, the message board Forums, and updating them every time a new evolutionary tool came out. When they started out, they didn’t have the ability to host graphics, show our photo albums as slide shows, run YouTube videos or house chat rooms, but now they do all that and sometimes more. Still, it wasn’t enough.
The Big Three may have been actively trying to figure out what was the new trend, or how to capitalize on the next big idea, but while they were to all outward appearances, asleep at the switch, they got sideswiped and passed up by the amazing concepts of YouTube and Blogging. Sure, they quickly threw together blogging capability on their websites, but they were (and in the case of Yahoo, still are) pathetically lame, looking like they were slapped on as a last-minute edition, which is exactly what they were.
Here is a fact to make you wake up, if you think all of this high-speed internet evolution is a passing trend; the top three social networks (Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn) get more traffic than Google, Yahoo and MSN combined. Suddenly the Big Three were the Behind the Times Three, run by those who had started and pioneered the internet’s evolution. Blogs and YouTube are run by the next generation and are what is called, “Social Networking 2.0”.
So, what is “Social Networking 2.0”? Why should you know and why should you get involved in it if you want to increase your business and social contacts? Read on when we post the next part very soon…