Written by Alex Iskold and edited by Richard MacManus
I was reading a Time magazine article online today, entitled Marketing to your mind. This article was very provocative and I enjoyed reading it. But after I was done, something else caught my attention. I was surprised to see a row of 'web 2.0' buttons at the bottom of the article. Time magazine, a mainstream publication, has an impressive array of web links to these services. Is this an indication that mainstream media has caught the new social media winds? Time magazine after all did name the Web-enabled YOU as their person of the Year last year.
Media is the vehicle for disseminating new services
Whether we like it or not, media has a huge influence on us. We learn news and in exchange media gets to pitch us (gently) their points of view and their advertisements. The blogosphere has a strong hold on the minds of early adopters. However, it is mainstream publications that reach millions of people - many of whom still know very little nothing about new web technologies.
Saturating media hubs - like New York Times, PCMagazine and Business Week - with links to popular new web sites and services, is critical to achieving the threshold for mass adoption of those services. So the key question is: Has mainstream media recognized 'web 2.0' (or the read/write Web, or whatever you want to call it)? To answer this question, we reviewed the web sites of some prominent newspapers and magazines. The result is the chart below.
As seen from the chart, and perhaps surprisingly, many publications have incorporated web 2.0 services into their sites. Time magazine has a particularly impressive array, followed closely by New York Times, Washington Post and InfoWorld. Notably two publications owned by IDG, Macworld and ComputerWorld, are lagging behind. Yet even these publications recognize the power of RSS - the single most widely adopted feature. Indeed, all the mainstream media websites I surveyed had RSS feeds.
Mainstream adoption is nearing
It appears that we are nearing a tipping point for the mass adoption of prominent web 2.0 services, like digg and del.icio.us. Endorsement by mainstream media opens these services up to millions of people who otherwise would either not know about them, or not take them seriously. So these are not just links, these are literally endorsements - or recognition of additional value for mainstream media.
The image above is from Dr. Barabasi's network gallery
And if 2007 brings massive adoption to services like del.icio.us, digg and facebook, what would those services be worth then?! Ironically I am writing this from one of the Starbucks cafes on Wall Street, which after it got burned by tech stocks in 1999 practically closed its doors to the tech IPOs. Could the mainstream adoption of these services change the minds of gray-haired men and women in Armani suits? Perhaps. What we do know is that whenever crowds come, the (advertising) money follows. Of course only time will tell, but it seems like 2007 will provide a good measuring stick for mainstream adoption of 'web 2.0'.