ASIS&T 2007: Keynote — The Impact of Web 2.0

Anthea Stratigos is CEO/Co-founder of Outsell.
Impact of web 2.0 on publishers, libraries, information providers, etc.
We’re in business of marketing experiences — not information. Web 2.0 is happening because of a convergence of individual traits, social and technological forces. Cycle of disruptive technologies: online databases, CD-ROM (1982), web (1991), xml, Web services, RSS (2001), AJAX, Ruby on Rails, REST (2007).
Showed YouTube video: “Did you know? Shift Happens.” Web 2.0 is about being global, being “flat”. Shows famous “nobody knows you’re a dog” cartoon — web 1.0. Web was static. Not interactive. Now, web 2.0, everybody knows you’re a dog — and your likes, your activities, etc. Web 2.0 is interactive — anything is a consumable.
Web 2.0 manifests itself as social networks, mashups, user-generated content, community/sharing, networking, crowdsourcing. Communities for any and every slice of life.

Web 2.0 enterprise

Google is class example of this; other enterprises are catching up. Quick, agile, global. “Open”-minded (i.e., IBM & Linden Labs’ new avatar standard to enable avatars to move from world to world). Content without containers, play well with others, service-oriented, conversationalist.
Marketing — new tools enable new research (Facebook, Second Life, panels using cell phones). Notion of physical focus groups diminishing; observing live interactions is rising. Lego is doing product development with power users by showing designs on web and redesigning in response.


31% still struggling with information retrieval — 31% doesn’t generate information users want. Users don’t want to pay for stuff. Want free content (60% of time); either free or fee if it serves my needs (36%).
Users wantto receive content by email alerts (85%), blogs (47%), intranet posting 41), podcasts (23%), RSS feeds (21%), videocasting (16%) (Source: Outsell’s information markets & users database).
Users are pulling together networks (MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and enterprise networks). Enterprise networks: behind-the-firewall social networks. Visible Path is one such company.

Publshing & Information Provider

Information industry of yesteryear is flat or no growth. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL are exploding. Leads to new revenue models. Have choices: bundling, licensing, subscription, pay per view, advertising, syndication. Agility is rising — publishers are reacting faster. Also lots of online ad possibilities (for additional revenue). Publishers facing great pressures.
Innovation areas:

  • Pay per Answer (Gerso Lehrman, Nature Publishing Group, Sermo, Innocentive, Complinet, Corporate Executive Board).
  • Pay per View: O’Reilly (buy a chpater, buy a page, etc.). ScienceDirect Info. Scitopia.
  • Pay for Software and Tools: McGraw Hill Construction, Soucient, Visual Files. Mixing content and software and a particular user set to create a workflow solution.
  • “Freemium” — free basic services for all; premium paid services for those who want to buy them.

Library Environment

Library technology adoption is not keeping pace with real world. Libraries are slower to react. Denver Public library has a teen space “Zwinky”. It’s an environment to reach teen-agers where they are.
PennTags — users get to interact with content. Putting libraries in a mall — for example, Camden Public Library. in NJ. Libraries with spaces in SecondLife. Libraries of things, not books — library for designers of various kinds (Material ConneXion). Anyone can use; for pay, you get more access.

What Does It Mean

Some think next web will be more like SecondLife – 3D.
Quotes Yogi Berra: “the future ain’t what it used to be.”
Our industry is going through what other industries have. A new technology appears, it’s disruptive. Established industry must shift. Price pressure, ubiquity, accountability are results. Prices are pushed down, ubiquity increases, accountability — people expect better results from old system to match new. Result is commoditization. A permanent shift in customer habits.
Odd behaviors occur. LIke products are available. Two customer types emerge (lagger and leading edge). Customer focus emerges (industry pays attention to different kinds of users). Partners become competitors. Competitors become partners. Segments and business models fall apart. Old business models fail, new ones arise.
Move is from product-centric to market-centric. Compete on market needs and differentiation. Google and Yahoo are our Wal-Mart and Target.
Information as enterntainment, entertainment as information: Richard Saul Wurman.

Essential Actions

Become agile. Stay on top of trends, making sure you differentiate your service from “competitors”. If we’re in business of providing information, we need to be digital marketeers delivering digital experience.
Trendwatching: what is happening in the world. Follow the money — where consumers spend that’s where enterprises go. iPhone, green technologies, consumer spending habits. 2-3 year lag time between consumer web and information web. Think globally.


Q: How do we reinstill or earn trust in products
A: Users are somewhat trusting automatically, but are highly aware of potential threats. User sophistication is rising. Increasingly jaded view of authority; but it’s going to come full circle.
Q: How have people changed their information seeking?
A: Time spent with information is going up ,but time spent finding it is too. Users starting to recognize value of their time in finding information and are looking for more efficient ways to find. Turning to portals, expert communities, etc., not open web. This should move ratio toward more time spent using information, from where it is now.
Q: What does “semantic web” hold for us?
A: Semantic web is coming. And coming quickly. As are other developments in the web; things will look radically different in a few years.
Q: Talk more about 3D world. Where is this happening?
A: Look at virtual worlds. SecondLife is prime example — it’s a platform for duplicating Earth.
Q: In world where simple technologies (IM,, facebook) are booming, how to complex technologies fit in?
A: 3D will become simpler — it’s the next thing. But whatever it is, it must be simple, it must be viral.
Q: Our generation is developing the current tools baased on our models. They’re successful. But what will be designed by the upcoming generation who think and interact with information and each other so differently?
A: It will be fascinating, whatever it is. But can’t predict.
Q: Have people really changed that much? Card catalog represents a lot of research and a fit with society.
A: Yes and no. Can’t throw out the old or reject the new — but the old informs our reaction and implementation of the new. History doesn’t dictate, but guides and informs.
Q: People want to be paid. What is upcoming for ways to pay each other on the ‘net?
A: Copyright is a mess — payment for use is failing. Technology to monitor content isn’t keeping up. We’ll see more digital fingerprinting — where you can track content as it moves around. Google is creating transactional technology — and they’re in a position to provide content and payent mechanisms.
Q: Can you comment on shift taking place in power dynamics between engineers who created technologies and individual users’ expression on these technologies.
A: Web empowers people; it’s a platform for conversation. Web empowers more people; everyone has a voice. Everyone decides which voice(s) to listen to. Users will need to decide how to structure their online life; we’ve been empowered, but responsibility roles and mores aren’t clear yet.