The Web 2.0 Paradox

As readers know, I’ve been testing Twitter.  It’s fun, but for me the jury is still out.

One of the things I’m noticing is the preponderance of New Media Gurus inhabiting Twitter.  And inevitably, many feel the need to constantly evangelize on the issues of Web 2.0.  News flash: if you have to talk in broad terms about Web 2.0, Social Networking or Social Media, you’ve probably already missed the boat.  This is not some abstract concept that is coming down the pipe someday, it’s a trend that’s here.  If you’re a designer or a developer, it is not a trend, it’s a wrench your toolbox to be employed where it fits.  No more and no less.

Let me say that more clearly: the whole social networking thing is an extension of web design and development, not a radical departure from it.  It is an iteration, one more bit to add on and be aware of.  Think of it as a stop on the bus route of development.  This is all an evolutionary step, as will be the *next big thing*.

When I see “new communication tools” like Twitter, I have one standard that I apply.  If the discussion in the tool is mostly about the tool, it is a failed experiment.  I am not currently certain if Twitter has risen above that level of primordial ooze yet.  As John C. Dvorak noted, I don’t really want to know that you’re having a cheese sandwich for lunch…

Launches this week…

I’ve had a couple sites go live this week – first, some niche websites with NameMedia, Hotcars.com and Dreamwheels.com as well as Cats.com (I didn’t work as much on that one, it was in the hands of the talented Matt Busby and David Rodal).  These come on the tails of the launches on March 1 of Biking.com, Cycling.com, Boating.com, Yachting.com and Mommy.com.  I was lucky enough to work with Eugene Bernstein, Tom Willmot, Joe Hoyle, Peter Kuhn and Neema Dhakal on these sites, with designs by Dave Dellovo and Erik Stern.  A tremendous team!

The important thing to note on all of these sites is the application of so many facets of Web 2.0 to niche sites.  These are tightly woven niche communities that include all the things you’d expect, like friends lists, groups, internal messaging, blogs, forums, comments, and so very much more.  But it’s not a cookie cutter approach – we’ve looked at the communities we’re serving and attempted to provide the features that particular group needs.  On Mommy.com, there is an online baby book.  Or on Cats.com, we’ve come up with a means of dealing with the big internet question: how do I tell an expert from a loud mouthed rookie online, since the value of their advice is so vastly different.

On Hotcars.com and Dreamwheels you’ll see a major change to the forums setup.  It’s fully integrated with the rest of the system, and we’ve added features like the ability to link to youtube videos, etc.

There’s a lot more to come here, but for now, I think we’ve made a great start.

Additionally, I was able to launch PowerUpGeneratorService.com which has been on hold for several months (this one is not a NameMedia project).  It has an integrated project/product gallery and a homepage that is rotating between their major service/product offerings.  If you need a generator, no matter the size, PowerUpGeneratorService.com is the place for you!