The assumptions being presented are primarily based on experience and trends that allow some forecast of projections regarding sensitivity to the need of migrating from the prevailing Web 1.0 mentality to the emerging dominance of the Web 2.0 environment. The Cluetrain Manifesto® presented by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls first exploded on the web scene 10 years ago. It solidly stripped off the cloud of uncertainty regarding the web’s direction and the “tsunami” impact of that phenomena on the digital marketplace, including those who depend on the web environment for any sizable share of their revenue stream (ie: sales, marketing).
First, let’s lead with the assumption that a broad range of “for profit” businesses and other ventures, including non-profits are impacted by the new Web 2.0 environment. Some may feel a certain embarrassment regarding their lack of clear understanding of Web 2.0 or they may even feel that their existence on the Web and this new little understood changed environment have no bearing on each other.
The Cluetrain Manifesto® laid out a crystal clear look at the emerging change in interactions occurring within the Web structure. No longer would the masses of individuals and other demographic groups accessing the Web automatically look to primary websites first to satiate the desire to be informed or to proceed with any serious decision making activity. This impacts buying decisions, alignment decisions, opinion shaping decisions and any combination of the above. Many organizations are maintaining the incorrect assumption that if they are not present on the Web or have limited their participation in the Web that it does not affect them. The problem with this assumption is the apparent lack of understanding regarding the growing, viral and very real-time opinion clout leveraged by the online communities that mirror the various interest groups associated with the incredible range of organizations in the for profit and non profit sectors. These individuals have in ever increasing numbers discovered the bully pulpit of blogs, chat rooms, consumer opinion forums and other effective places on the web that allow singular voices to be greatly amplified.
Ignoring this emerging and extremely powerful wave of digital influence has heavily damaged many well known businesses, in some cases evaporating immense chunks of reputation and/or profits, actually drowning businesses under the “tsunami like” surge in the opinions dominating the associated communities surrounding each business area of interest. Other businesses or other forms of organization have been in a state of malaise, not aware of this seemingly invisible impact due to their ambivalence or in some cases purposeful ignorance of the on-line communities related to their interests. In other words they do not even know what they are missing in terms of diverted focus resulting from their lack of monitoring and involvement in related online communities.
Based on the above information, I tend to divide prospects into two camps. One would be the mundane “do you need a website? How soon? How much are you willing to pay for something other than a base template?” group. The other camp would be those who are awakening to the emergence of the “Social Tsunami” phenomena and who have some awareness that they must do something to effectively benefit instead of being blissfully unaware of it as they see “ first click” website volume going down and the massive wave of opinion keeps surging in to damage or even destroy the no longer secure profit growth.