Web 2.0 and Social Networking - A Part of Everyone's Business

As some of you may have read, HRmarketer.com will soon be launching a new site (Q1 2008) that sports a graphic redesign that emphasizes social networking, RSS feeds and other Web 2.0 features. When it goes live, the site will showcase some very impressive state-of-the-art features.

The purpose of making these enhancements is simple - to better service the needs of our customers by leveraging the power of social networking and web 2.0 functionality.

But we are not, and never will be, a pure social networking service. We'll leave that to the experts at Linkedin, Facebook, MySpace and others.

This may seem like an obvious statement but I think it is worth exploring, especially considering all the negative hype (and misunderstandings) surrounding what is often called the Web 2.0 bubble. Or, as Todd Dagres, co-founder of venture-capital firm Spark Capital, told The Wall StreetJournal:
"There are some similarities between the current [Web 2.0] ‘bubble’ and the last one that burst in 2000. Lots of incomplete and under-experienced teams, business models based more on eyeballs than cash flow, and a rash of incremental and ‘me too’ deals."
But what many critics of Web 2.0 fail to realize is that social networking and other Web 2.0 technologies are not so much businesses in themselves as they are new technologies that improve the way people communicate, or in the case of B2B, conduct business. In fact, when you think about it, the term Web 2.0 makes no sense - to take a Polaroid of the Internet at any given time and then label it assumes the Internet is evolving in predictable stages. But the Internet is much too dynamic. It continuously evolves and as it does, the market determines which technologies are relevant and smart companies then integrate these into their core business.

In the early days of the Internet many so called experts predicted the demise of "bricks and mortar" businesses. But what happened was as the Internet became more mainstream, the established bricks and mortars integrated the Internet into their core offering leading to the demise of many dot.coms. As the above article from The Atlantic points out:
"Instant messaging was once a unique and compelling reason to subscribe to AOL, not to mention hyped as a revolutionary application that would render e-mail fogeyish and vestigial. It is now a commodity function."
And as we wrote in a blog last year titled "If it's Not a Bubble, How Can it Burst? More Talk about Web 2.0" , when Jobster pioneered social networking in recruiting, some analysts in the HR space were predicting the demise of other leading job boards. But what is happening is that as social networking becomes more mainstream, these technologies are being adopted by many established recruiting and staffing suppliers. In other words, at some point the features associated with social networking will become a "commodity function" on the Internet and get tacked on to existing sites. It's happening now.

And that's precisely our point when we say we are not (and never will be) a social networking service. Social networking and other Web 2.0 technologies have evolved enough whereby every business with a web site should begin to figure out a way to incorporate them into their core business to improve their customer experience or product/service delivery. What does this mean for suppliers of human resource services? Web 2.0 technologies are not a bubble - they are quickly moving from an Introduction stage to an Early Majority. Now is the time to figure out how these technologies can improve your products/services in such a way as to deliver real value to your customers and start development.

And that is precisely what we are doing with HRmarketer "2.0".

Posted by Mark Willaman

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