Harnessing Web 2.0 for your business or pleasure
Like so many technology buzzwords, the term "Web 2.0" has become cliché. Despite it's over use, however, it is an important concept to understand because Web 2.0 applications are becoming increasingly important for business Web sites.
Web 2.0 encompasses the trend in Web technology and design to enhance collaboration and information sharing among users. This translates into the development of hosted services and Web-based communities such as social-networking sites wikis, blogs and collaborative tagging.
So how can this technology work for you?
There are a host of applications, many of them free or very inexpensive, that you can use to make your business site more functional in terms of sharing data and communicating with clients or workers within your organization.
A good place to start, says Michael Nieling, founder of Ocupop, a Honolulu-based design and marketing firm, is a site called
37signals.com which provides an impressive suite of applications.
Among the tools he recommends is Basecamp, which provides project management and collaboration tools; Writeboard, which lets you share Web-based text documents; and Campfire, a Web-based group chat. He particularly likes the utility of Campfire, which his organization uses as a virtual blackboard for conference calls.
Neiling also is fond of the very functional (and free) applications found on
Let's start with Gmail, which not only provides Web mail service, but offer a complete e-mail hosting service. Google in effect can outsource a small company's e-mail, thus eliminating the nuisance and cost of e-mail hosting.
There are other apps such as Google Calendar, which coordinates meetings and company events with sharable calendars; Google Talk, which has free text and VoiP capabilities to communicate globally; and Google Docs, which allows you to create and collaborate on documents in real-time.
Some other Web 2.0 apps to consider include
Wordpress, a free blogging app. In Honolulu,
Waikiki.com, a visitors guide, has a WordPress blog (visitwaikiki.wordpress.com) that keeps readers posted on tours, events and other activities.
Flickr (owned by Yahoo) though primarily a personal photo-sharing site, is also used to promote events and post shots of past activities. I found a number of Hawaii groups and organizations with a presence on Flickr, including
Small Business Hawaii.
Web 2.0 tools open up a whole new universe of online communication that is only beginning to get traction.
Talk to your local Web guru to consider what Web 2.0 application makes sense for your business or organization.