web 2.0 primer

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Web 2.0 - A Primer

Web 2.0 is a hot topic. I know this because for the past few months, Web 2.0 has been the topic du jour at a couple of the professional organizations that I attend: National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and Women In Consulting. This article is for people who would like to keep up with the tech world yet are not power users.

In preparing to write this article, I have been doing some research and it has been a lot of fun. I love learning new things! I found a great website (www.commoncraft.com/show) with videos that demonstrate several Web 2.0 topics clearly, though the speaker, Lee LeFever, talks really fast. This seems to be a common trait of people excited and knowledgeable about Web 2.0. I noticed this in the speakers at a recent NAWBO meeting also.

So what exactly is Web 2.0? Here is a definition From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and an example of wiki:

"Web 2.0 is a term describing changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, secure information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and its hosted services, such as social-networking sites, video sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies. The term became notable after the first O'Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways software developers and end-users utilize the Web."

What is a blog and why would I want to develop one?

That is exactly the question that I have been asking myself especially why would I want my own. Blog is short for web log. Originally, people would share links to their favorite websites with one another. Then this was shortened to blog and they evolved into websites organized by blog posts or individual stories where your readers can also comment, which makes them interactive. Some blogs are private, like a personal journal but housed on the web. Others are open only to designated people, for example if you set up a family blog where you post stories and photos which you only share amongst your family. There are lots of news, opinion, and information blogs also. And, now there is an Oak Communications blog.

I decided to enter the blogosphere so that I can share information and ideas with my coaching and consulting clients, potential clients and others who may find it of interest. It is a way that I can keep in touch with people on a more frequent basis than with my e-newsletter, without filling up your already crowded email inbox.

I am enjoying the process of writing and posting to my blog. Knowing that I have a blog, and that I want to add to it on a regular basis, leads me to pay attention even more than normal to what is around me, what I am experiencing, seeing, and hearing, and to think about what might be of interest to my readers (or reader as the case may be).

My question for you is, do you think I should write more about coaching and consulting topics? Or do you like that my posts thus far have been more personal in nature?

I have read that some people think that blog also stands for "better listings on google". That was another compelling reason for me to start a blog. The more people who check out my website, the more potential for providing coaching and consulting services to them. You may also find this to be true if you are in business or lead a non-profit organization.


By the way, I found it very easy to set up my blog. To start a blog, check out these free blog tools: Blogger, Wordpress, or Typepad.

I have added an RSS (really simple syndication) feed to my blog. That is the small orange symbol in the top right corner of my blog. It allows readers to automatically receive a notification when my blog has been updated. In order for the feed to work, you need to first subscribe to a reader. Popular readers are with google, bloglines, or yahoo . Then you simply click on the orange symbol (there are other symbols as well for RSS) on the blogs of your choice and indicate which reader that you use.

Social Networking

Social networking sites include: LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace to name a few of the most popular ones. These sites allow you to connect with other people - your friends, work colleagues, college roommates and then expand your network through their contacts. These social networks, in theory, can lead to opportunities such as new friends, jobs or business leads. You need to decide which of these sites, if any, make the most sense for you.

I have chosen to join LinkedIn. Want to connect on LinkedIn? Please invite me to be a part of your LinkedIn network, if we are not already connected. Here is my LinkedIn profile.

Wiki

“A wiki is a page or collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using simplified markup pages. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites.” From Wikipedia

A wiki gives multiple people the opportunity to edit, write, save and make links on the same document or web page.

After watching Wikis in Plain English, I identified an immediate application for using a wiki. I consult with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and we often are planning events in which we need to solicit ideas, feedback, and schedules from multiple people. We often coordinate through email. As you can imagine, this results in multiple and overlapping email messages, which gets confusing and is just not very effective. Using a wiki to coordinate plans and schedule dates and tasks will simplify and make the process more effective and enjoyable.

Here are a few sites that can help you get started with wikis:

www.pbwiki.com

www.wetpaint.com

www.wikispaces.com

 

Web 2.0 Resources

Web 2.0 by U Tech Tips - good historical and clear information

Web 2.0 - An intro in 5 minutes - clever, informative and entertaining made by commoncraftshow

To learn more about the what and why of blogs: Blogs in Plain English

For more information on RSS: RSS in Plain English

For more information on Social Networking: Social Networking in Plain English

To read about the "State of the Blogosphere" or to search for blogs: Technorati

© Sue Schleifer, October, 2008

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