Web 3.0 – What is it and what’s in it for me?

If you’re like me you’re not entirely comfortable with the notion that the Internet is already undergoing its next major overhaul.  I’ve gotten my head around Web 2.0 — this is where we lost control of the online persona of brands thanks to the power of social media — but what is this next version and what are the business implications?

Here’s a brief overview of the evolution of the Internet.

  • Web 1.0 – Read only.  Limited user interaction.  Strictly an informational portal. Keyword (dumb) search
  • Web 2.0 – Interactive.  Social.  Also called read-write web. Unleashes collective intelligence. Emphasis is on the power of the community. Created a new transparency for the individual as well as the corporation.
  • Web 3.0 – Intelligent queries are possible providing context sensitive search results (the context is me).  Web browsers use personal information about me to deliver selected data.  The Web doesn’t look the same to me as it does to you.  Also called the portable personal Web.

Another way to look at this is to say that Web 2.0 uses the Internet to make connections between people while Web 3.0 will use personal context to deliver relevant, individualized information.  Moreover, the method of delivery is shifting away from PCs and laptops as increasingly Web content is delivered via mobile phones.

Implications to the business community

Talent acquisition will feel Web 3.0 in significant ways.  To prepare, think about the talent you expect to attract into your organization over the next 6 to 12 months. What are the online habits of the demographic from which you intend to recruit?  Does your attraction strategy take into consideration the shift in Internet delivery methods from full-screen PCs to mobile phones?  Is your online employer brand intentional or accidental?

Marketing will need to understand demographics very well as Web content becomes customized for the individual user.  What methods will you employ to stay knowledgeable about what the online community in general is saying about you?  For examples of next generation web marketing see Harvard Business Review’s “Getting Brand Communities Right“.  The most important message for me in this article is that brand management is no longer the sole responsibility of Marketing.  We need to find ways to engage the entire employee community.

IT is already feeling the impact in bandwidth requirements as employees are increasingly “plugged in” throughout the workday.   Social networking can be an effective business tool to enhance the brand and build business when used properly.  The struggle is in getting the right policies hammered out and communicating these effectively to the employee population.  Check out “10 things you should cover in your social networking policy“.

What’s in it for me?

The opportunity for each of us is to embrace these changes and stay in front of them.  If you are a job seeker, demonstrating to a prospective employer that you understand how you can become a positive member of the online community on their behalf may help you get to the top of the list in the selection process.  The currently employed can investigate their company’s brand and take steps to leverage the best or be part of the solution if you don’t like what you find is being said online.

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