By Robert Sussman, joint CEO, the Integr8 Group
The next level of Internet application, Web 3.0, has revolutionised the way we live, work and interact. It is a version of the Internet that is dominated by multi-media devices, cloud computing, social networking, and personalised web presence.
Years of innovation, research and development has given rise to several versions of the Internet, including Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. The first version focused primarily on content and traffic generation, whilst the second has been characterised by dynamic platforms such as blogs.
Today we have a version of the Internet that is really all about personalised presence and customised Internet. Whereas before Internet use was generally anonymous, now there is a desire amongst end users to establish and proactively manage an online identity.
This identity follows a person and sustainability of personalised, individual web presence is at the forefront of demand for connectivity and instant communication over multiple devices.
The growth of Facebook is an innovative by-product of the explosive growth of the Internet. The Internet took twelve years to attract and secure a user base of 600 million worldwide. Facebook took half the time to secure the same volume of users and today has a user base of 800 million.
Given that there are approximately 6,9 billion people in the world, growth is inevitable.
The fact is that Facebook can now host converged voice, video and data. Applications are being designed to enable users to play games, run ecommerce ventures, host and transmit voice, and other multimedia.
Another interesting fact about Facebook is the availability of Timeline, a facility that allows a user to construct a full personal profile and entire lifetime.
The difference between Facebook and Google, for example, is that people use Google to instantly search and download information. The resource is effective as a search engine. With Facebook there is an unrivalled ‘sticking’ quality that means people use the website, stay and keep returning.
Aside from personalise use, decision makers have become increasingly interested in the commercial value of social networking and effective online presence. Decision makers are aware of the benefits of using this resource strategically. They are also aware of the pitfalls of not having established presence.
Effective Internet presence has the power to either make or break the brand.
In the US companies now employee staff to regulate their Facebook profiles on a regular basis. This is where markets are going and this is where the future lies.
According to one recent statistic heard overseas recently, if Facebook listed officially on the stock exchange, it would be worth $100 billion.
Online exposure, lead generation and consistent advertising of the business are just some of the advantages. It is the ultimate word-of-mouth marketing service.
And if you are not part of the Internet Web 3.0 boom, then you are very much left behind.
But what of the implications of a consistently growing seemingly unstoppable Internet-based force? It is inevitable that regulation will come into play at some point as far as the Internet is concerned.
There are simply too many people involved. The emergence of an online state-run law enforcement service is not beyond the realms of possibility.
Although there are social network initiatives being launched in key regions globally, such as China and South America, these are still very much in development phase and not comparable to Facebook.
However, the very core of Information Technology is that it changes, so it is advisable to watch this space!