Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Internet 2.0 - myth or reality?

This is not a money-making exercise but I am going to put £1 in a tin every time between now and Easter when the conversation turns to “Internet 2.0”.

A charity of my choice may actually do quite well because the already rather hackneyed phrase is the source of much mirth/excitement/concern [please delete as appropriate] among leading figures in the online travel arena.

For those at the top of so-called web-savvy pyramid, in terms of what they as businesses already offer to those yearning for the latest in technology and functionality, the expression is usually accompanied with a wry smile.

“Internet 2.0?” they chuckle, before launching into their latest developments or ideas for cost per click advertising, community-based interaction with users, podcasting, highly targeted digital marketing or video downloads to mobiles.

Others, who would probably place themselves among those “excited” by the prospect of a raft of new developments in the online world, say they are chatting to their back room people about where to go next.

“We have the desire to do great things with the online end of our business,” someone said to me recently, “but just as when we first started this internet malarkey, I still need to convince others that investment now may not see an instant return, but it’ll put us up there.”

Wherever “there” is, nobody is really sure. But it is somewhere where most online travel companies need to be thinking about, if you listen to some of the forward-thinking, techy types in the industry.

But what of those worried what the next phase of the online world’s speedy rise will bring? Perhaps privately they are still getting over the last five years and the supreme effort it has taken to get where they are now as businesses.

Perhaps the speed of change is just too much, too soon.

Either way there is no escaping the dreaded “Internet 2.0”. Social advancement, as a piece in the Guardian [here] recently suggested, is the next stage.

And nobody wants to be a social outcast, do they?

Kevin May, editor, Travolution


Steve E said...

It's certainly an exciting time for those working in new media/web but I do feel the constant referral to web 2.0 is misleading a lot of people as it's not going to miraculously change overnight. In my opinion it's a natural progression of the social nature of the web. Forums / bulletin boards have existed since the webs inception and it was originally designed to share information anyway.

There are certainly some great new developments which travel can utilise, but at the moment a lot of online travel offerings really need to return to basics and address the customer experience/usability. In other words learn to walk first!

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Anonymous said...

I agree with you Steve, how many sites as far from getting simple usability right. They need to learn to walk before they jump...