Web 3.0: The Risks and the Rewards

Between cybercriminals and consolidation, the next Web can get hazardous. In this third of a three-part series, a look at how to cope with the threats and enable your smaller business to survive and thrive in the world of Web 3.0

Keith Ferrell, Contributor

February 19, 2008

3 Min Read

But Let's Look At The Bright Side

Early on, I promised you a kaleidoscope, and that's what I've tried to provide – but looking at the Web and its possible future(s) even through a kaleidoscope can only give a hint of where we are, much less where we're headed.

So let's look, close-up, at some tools and initiatives that can help your business thrive on this Web, that Web, and whatever Webs come our way:

  • Think small: Those mobile devices – phones, BlackBerrys, etc. – mentioned in passing early in the piece are likely to be the devices for tomorrow's Web. Take a hard look at your core marketing and communications materials and if they aren't optimized for mobile delivery to mobile screens, start doing so now. Those gorgeous pages optimized for desktop flatscreens don't play well in the palm of a customer's hand.

  • Know your vendors – and know what they know (or don't) about Web 3.0: Your Web and IT teams, or third-party Web service vendors, had better be on their game as tomorrow's Web takes shape. Its arrival will be anything but a seamless transition à la a new operating system (and we all know how seamless those are.) Rather, the new Web will emerge piecemeal, with tools deployed, techniques tried, approaches embraced and abandoned. Better make sure your people are up to date with the future.

  • Be prepared to move beyond text – and pay for it: Like it or not, the next generation of the Web – and more specifically its users – may be far more video than text oriented. That means increased costs for you, but it could pay off in increased business.

  • Customize your content: The more carefully you've mounted your current Web content with an eye to individualizing to your own business as well as the business requirements of the various search engines, the better off you'll be as new approaches to the Web emerge. Optimize your content for your business's identity as well as for successful searches. Maybe it's time for a new position in the hierarchy: Chief Content Officer, anyone?

That last point speaks clearly to what the next Web will be, whether the Semantic Web we looked at here, or a 3-D virtual video game-like Web that some foresee, or something as yet unforeseen -- the point is going to be an increased transparency of relationship between content and communications and, as a result, increased transparency and ease and efficiency of communicating your content to your customers, partners, employees, and vendors.

And to the world, if you want, or only to the exact members of the world you want to reach.

Know your business — and make sure every member of your team knows it as well.

That's what the next Web will be about, that sort of deep and thorough knowledge of yourself and your products and services, the ways in which your customers use them, your competitors' positions, the trends and currents, opportunities and upheavals that you and your customers face, all open and readable by a variety of means, reachable via a variety of devices.

Be on your business game and be sure your IT and Web teams are on theirs, and you'll be ready for whatever Web comes your way.

See you there.

Don't Miss: Part 1 -- Where We've Been And Where We Are: Web 1.0 and 2.0

Don't Miss: Part 2 -- Web 3.0: The Next Web

Keith Ferrell is the author of a dozen books and countless magazine and newspaper articles. The editor of OMNI Magazine from 1990-1996, he also is a frequent speaker to corporate and institutional audiences.

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