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10/17/2007
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Web 2.0: Where's the Beef?

Hey small and midsize businesses, you guys are not that interested in using Web 2.0 tools to get business information. Why not?

Hey small and midsize businesses, you guys are not that interested in using Web 2.0 tools to get business information. Why not?A new study by Bredin Business Information gives a picture of how small and midsize businesses feel about Web 2.0 -- and it's not a warm and fuzzy snapshot.

According to BBI's release, the study "sought to gain a clearer understanding of how SMBs perceive the value of online tools such as blogs, social networks, wikis and other emerging formats."

The study surveyed 300 U.S.-based small and midsize businesses (defined as between 1 and 500 employees) and asked them to assess the importance of various Web 2.0 formats as sources of business management information over the next five years.

The results are interesting in that they seem to indicate that many small and midsize businesses are not only missing the Web 2.0 boat but could also continue to do so for a while.

Some numbers: "Only 14% expect that blogs will be very or extremely important, with similar ratings coming in for wikis (21%), social networking sites (22%) and webcasts (31%)."

What is now considered "more traditional methods" of delivering resource information ranked high, with "49% rating email newsletters as very or extremely valuable over the next five years, and 46% giving that ranking to interactive tools such as quizzes or calculators."

Among the study's conclusions was this: "Despite the hype surrounding Web 2.0, SMBs are not yet sure how these tools are useful in locating business-related information. The survey asked SMBs how their attitudes toward certain online tools had changed over the past several years. Interestingly, 41% said they were more positive about interactive tools and email newsletters, and 30% were more positive about community forums. Other Web 2.0 formats fared less well. While 19% were more positive about social networking, 21% were less positive. Blogs (18% more positive/16% less) and wikis (17% more positive/14% less) had similar results."

I tend to agree that social networking sites don't yet have much valuable business information but in five years who knows? And blogs have frequently become one of the few places to find accurate information without the hype.

Do you agree with these results? Are you using web 2.0 to get your business information? Let us know.

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