Kickstart Your Company

Kickstarter is a website that provides users with, a creative idea, the opportunity  to start their creative project. This is achieved by receiving funds from users with an interest in the project hitting the marketplace. It is a great example of user generated content by relying on crowd funding.

Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects

Since the launch of Kickstarter in 2009, more than 4 million people pledging more than $162 million, funding more than 41,000 creative projects. The great thing with Kickstarter is that ownership still remains with the project creators as they still have complete control and responsibility over the project. Kickstarter is a platform to host and aid these projects getting funded. What is necessary in a Kickstarter project:

  • A funding goal
  • An overview of the project to get users interested
  • An incentive for the backers
  • A set time frame for the fund raising

Kickstarter has created a new business model for the DIY generation

The Web 2.0 Application relies on the project to word of mouth for funding. If word spreads, more people pledging, increasing dramatic growth. This is demonstrated in The Cyanide & Happiness Show where 14,242 people backed and supported the project by pledging over $700,309. They funded 308% as the original goal for this project was $250,000.

Every project always involves risks. “Fail fast, scale fast” encourages new ideas, if an idea fails, it is one step closer to success.

 

There is a lot of risk involved with starting a project with Kickstarter as they promote funding as all or nothing. The project has to reach the goal as no funds raised during the process can be claimed.

Kickstarter is an easy application where any user can start a creative project. However, there are many crowd funding applications similar to Kickstarter available as well. An issue with Kickstarter is the possibility of a scam where the project has been plagiarised.

Spotify Leveraging the Long Tail

Chris Anderson describes ‘the long tail’ as the collective power of the small sites combined actually make up a bulk of the web’s content. It is important to be able to accommodate these niche markets. With the development of the Internet, it is easier to provide many different choices, leveraging the long tail. This is displayed in the Web 2.0 Application, Spotify is a online music streaming service. It  provides a wide range of songs to accommodate users’ different interests in songs, even the micro markets.

Spotify, allow users to listen to music on the go as it works on various operating systems and devices demonstrated in the image below.

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The Internet has influenced a change in the Music Industry as it is moving away from tangible products, like CDs, and towards digital music like iTunes. As the internet has an infinite shelf space, it has lowered the cost of production and distribution as customers prefer the cheaper option, using Spotify to listen to music. Spotify is a great example of a Web 2.0 Application with social media well integrated in the software. Users can create and use an account with their existing Facebook account. It displays what playlists you have and what music you are currently listening to. Spotify also allows users to follow artists and other users to see what they are listening to. This application recommends songs and playlists to users by looking at what kind of songs you have listened to previously. This is achieved by using algorithmic data management to match the supply and the demand.

Spotify is a self efficient service where the accounts are managed by the users. This builds a better relationship with the users as they are trusted. The common issue with Spotify is that artists are worried about how the application is destroying the music industry as users can listen to music for free. This is an example of moral panic has the industry has changed, moving towards the digital age of technology where music makes most of their money by concerts and live shows.

You don’t have Hotmail

Majority of the Web 2.0 Applications used today go through many changes and updates with countless different versions of the product. This is explained as Perpetual Beta where products are being constantly updated and modified. The applications are always being updated due to bugs in the software and also the high demand from the users. A example of perpetual beta which most people are aware of, is Facebook. A lot of new functions have been introduced since Facebook was launched and the layout has been changed.

Hotmail has gone through many different stages, constantly changing versions. From MSN Hotmail to Windows Live Hotmail.Recently, Hotmail has gone through some major rebranding as the demand from users have changed over time.

Goodbye HoTMaiL

Microsoft has said goodbye to Hotmail and has replaced it with Outlook.com. There has been a lot of competition since the introduction of Gmail in 2004. Before Outlook.com was released to all users with a hotmail account, it was offered as an upgrade for users to trial the new online mail service. Microsoft has encouraged users to give feedback to the company in relation to this change with Hotmail, making the annoucement on their blog:

We’ve built Outlook.com to be modern email for the next billion inboxes. We hope you like it, and we want to hear from you

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As demonstrated in the image above, Microsoft Outlook’s redesign is clean and simple, which makes it user friendly as users can navigate it with ease. The new Outlook also supports SkyDrive and Office Web Apps which has been incorporated into the product. This demonstrates a rich user interface with emailing moving away from the desktop interface and towards the online model. Perpetual beta is more reliable as it provides real time testing and sampling of the product. There are many benefits to perpetual beta testing which includes:

  • faster time to market
  • reduces risk
  • real-time data to make quantifiable decisions
  • increased responsiveness

Perpetual beta also allows developers to build a stronger relationship with users as they can  co-create and co-develop, Produser. However, there are issues concerning testing the beta version of the product including, delivering excess features that are not necessary. Another issue is that the interface constantly changing does not allow users to adapt to the new design. This may annoy the user and could discourage the user from using the product.

Online Storage Service – Dropbox

Technology has advanced with personal computers no longer being the main access to the Internet. O’Reilly explains this shift as software above the single device where an application can be accessed through many devices like the modern smartphone or tablet. Applications have also been developed to support this change in technology. This is demonstrated with the popular web 2.0 application, Dropbox. Dropbox is an online service where files and documents can be saved online, which is part of the new cloud computing system. This Web 2.0 Application is a great example of enabling data location independence as data is synchronised across multiple devices with the access to the same files. Dropbox is not only accessible through the internet but also through many different devices including the desktop illustrated in the image below. This allows easy access to the files which can also be uploaded instantly.

Dropbox also extends Web 2.0 to devices, introducing a user-friendly application which can be downloaded and installed on a wide range of devices like the phone. This allows access to the files anywhere on the go. The files are synced across all devices and as well as the internet.The application is also available on a wide range of mobile devices with different operating systems. This includes Android, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and even KindleFire.

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Dropbox also allows users to sync photos from their personal device. A message is prompted when the device is plugged in the Personal Computer, asking if it wants to be synced with dropbox. This allows users to share the photos easier and displays Leverage device as data and rich media sources. Dropbox initially provides a small amount of space to begin with. However, to expand the space, you can either get your friends to sign up, give feedback and connect it with facebook. This not only advertises but also promotes the company by giving the users an incentive.The Web 2.0 application also allows users to set up share folders with friends which are great for sharing photos and even collaborate documents.

There are many issues that concern users when using an online file storage application like Dropbox, including privacy and ownership. However, Dropbox keeps it simple with the terms and conditions and states that the company does not own the data and does not sell it to other companies.  There are many different online storage services like Dropbox available like Google Drive and Sky Drive. Unlike Dropbox, Zack Whittaker explains that Google Drive does not own the data but can do anything they desire.

Notebooks are Coming Back

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Evernote is an online application where notes can be created, modified and deleted. It also has a wide range of functionalities like:

  • taking web clippings
  • voice recording
  • texts
  • pictures
  • comments
  • attach files

Evernote online syncing cloud system allows content to be accessed on the go with different devices being able to view the same content. Evernote also has sharing options where you can allow access to other users to collaborate. It combines the best functions of a word document and allows it to be accessible on the go. Evernote is one of the Top 10 Applications on iTunes under the productivity category. It is a great example of moving away from the desktop interface to the online interface, improving the user interface. The software program is available on a wide range of platforms like computers, tablets and smartphones with access to Evernote through the Internet. The latest content will be saved, synced and update on the devices which have the application.

 The shift from desktop interface towards the online interface focuses more on search then structure. With the development of Web 2.0 technologies, applications are now driven by search with data being the next intel inside. Evernote is essentially like a database of the notes you have created with optional tags with each note. This makes it easy to search for related notes or specific terms. Evernote also has a search tool, like a control F function, where key words can be searched within a note, even including an attached document. The settings for Evernote can be adjusted accordingly to suit the user’s preferences to ensure a rich user interface. The ability to access content from the Internet, allows users view and edit notes on the go. It combines desktop abilities with the online model to improve the user experience.

Because Evernote is a Web 2.0 application, it relies on the internet to sync and store content. If the application was not connected to the internet, users can still work offline but the changes will not be saved. However, once it is connected to the internet, the content will be saved and updated with the linked devices.

Play, Create and Share

Web 2.0 Applications allow users to create and modify content available on the Web, making it “hacker friendly”. This is demonstrated in blogging platforms like Tumblr where the html code can be modified by users.

Another great example of Innovation In Assembly is the online puzzle platform game, Little Big Planet. This game strongly focuses on user generated content as it allows users to create levels and upload them online for other users to play. Because Little Big Planet is an open service, it allows space for remixability. Remixability is digital content that can be disassembled and arranged differently.  The popular game has more than two million levels online! The creators of the game can also learn from the customer’s remix as it shows what users are interested in and apply them to the next game. Remixability not only generates new levels online but also builds customer trust and loyalty as the power has shifted to the users. The user generated game has also created an online community with users interacting to Create, Share and Play. Users can interact with other users by commenting and reviewing a particular game.

Application Programming Interface, also known as APIs, is well integrated in Little Big Planet as it is an interface implemented by a software components to interact with other software. This is demonstrated in the game’s third party innovation. Little Big Planet has established their online identity on different social networking platforms as well as their own website. The website is also social media friendly as it allows users to share content on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, demonstrated in the image below.

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This not only promotes the game but also can expand and increase the number of users in the community. Little Big Planet is also an example of Data is the Next Intel as it has a large database where users can search for a level with the use of tags displayed in the image below.

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#dataIsTheNextIntelInside

The development of Web 2.0 Applications has allowed users to generate their own content. This development has influenced a shift from technology being about function to data:

Data Is The Next Intel Inside

O’Reilly explains that database management is a core competency of Web 2.0 companies. This is clearly demonstrated in the popular social media application, Instagram. Instagram is a social networking platform that allows users to upload  and share photos with friends and family.It allows users to:

  • Upload photos to the Internet and stored on Instagram’s cloud
  • Follow other users that you don’t have to necessarily know
  • Check in function, taking advantage with the new mobile technology
  • Tagging friends and hashtagging
  • Make comments on the photos that are uploaded

What makes Instagram unique from other Web 2.0 Applications is that focuses just on photos. It builds data from network effects, meaning the more people are on Instagram, the more content is created, the richer the data. This data is not easily replicable as well. Instagram is a large database that allows users to search for photos uploaded by a user. It displays when the photo wasuploaded and sometimes the location of where the photo was taken. This data can be accessed anywhere using the internet as it is stored in a cloud, making it accessible anywhere with any device that has connection to the Internet.

Instagram is a popular Web 2.0 Application as businesses are starting to use it to promote and advertise their brand. Some well known brands like Coach and Starbucks have a well established fan base on Instagram. Businesses are also using Instagram to interact and communicate to the consumers. For example, Puma’s Love For Kicks Instagram competition not only advertises to their followers but also the users followers when they upload photos about Puma. This results in expanding their audience by reaching more people.

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In 2012, Instagram was bought by Facebook as the company exponentially grew. The company was then integrated and linked with Facebook allowing easy access to the data. Instagram also allows you to share your photos to other social media sites like Twitter and Tumblr. When Instagram was bought, there was a shift in the their policy outlining that they have access to the photos uploaded by a user and could sell photos to companies without asking permission. This brings up an important issue of who actually owning the photos uploaded on Instagram? Do you think they have the right to sell your photos on Instagram without notifying you?

Urban Times

The shift towards Web 2.0 Applications has changed the way we communicate and interact with others. Social media has blurred the boundaries between producer and consumer, forming the new term – produser. The term was created when Web 2.0 Applications allowed users to produce as well as consume, harnessing collective intellgience of users. Urbanpsoon, the popular restaurant reviewing website, demonstrates aspects of Web 2.0 applications as it turns to the users for information (also known as crowd sourcing).
Urbanspoon provides basic details about a restaurant like opening hours, contact number, address and their website if possible. However, what makes Urbanspoon so popular is that it allows users with the same passion for food, gather in the same environment, exchange and share experiences at different restaurants. Users can write reviews, guides or add their own blog posts to the relevant restaurant. Similar to other Youtube, Urbanspoon has also adopted the ‘like’ function, allowing users to like or dislike a certain restaurant, rating it resulting into a percentage. Shown in the image below.

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Urbanspoon expands their company across different social networking platforms making the site social media friendly. The RSS feed function allows blogs relating to the particular restaurant to be displayed on the page. Urbanspoon.com also has a share function, allowing users to share a restaurant profile through various social networking sites like Facebook or twitter. They take advantage of the already established social networking sites to promote and build their brand. With the shift towards mobile technology and smartphones making it’s way to the mainstream, Urbanspoon has accommodated and adapted to this change and developing a mobile application. This app is available on a wide range of mobile devices and is rated a five full stars on iTunes’s App store.

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In 2009, Urbanspoon was bought by  the internet giant, IAC. Siegler explains that  IAC offered Urbanspoon an offer they cannot refuse as they saw great potential in the company. Urbanspoon is a perfect example of Enterprise 2.0, using non-traditional methods to build a company. Urbanspoon has become a user generated search engine with users creating the content of the website. The more information that is added to the website by users, the richer the content. Positive reviews by frequent users increases the value of the restuarant as well.  However, because Web 2.0 applications are user generated content, information can be falsified or inappropriate. There have been some cases where good reviews have been falsified by employees working for the restaurant. It is also hard to regulate the content on the website and is hard to control.

Urbanspoon is a great example of harnessing collective intelligence, sharing different experiences by users in an online environment. Even though majority of the users are not professional food critics, they still share the same interests in food.

Please feel free to comment below 🙂

Web 2.0 Applications

Hello World!

I am Marayka and I am in my third and final year of my degree in Media and Communication, majoring in IT. I decided to study Web 2.0 Applications after completing Enterprise 2.0 in the previous semester. I believe that it is important to learn about different Web 2.0 tools, as social media has impacted our lives greatly, influencing a change in the way we communicate.

Hope you find my blog interesting 🙂

Creating Media

The shift towards Web 2.0 tools has influenced a change in a way we communicate. Recently, we have witnessed social media tools being used by many organisations to engage and interact with users. Starbucks is a great example of a company exploring many social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. As Wakefield outlined, Starbucks’ twitter page mostly consists of responding and resolving the issue, making sure the customer is satisfied in the end.
Brisbane Airport should adopt a similar strategy, using social media for online customer service, attending to problems that users have outlined.

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The Gatwick Airport has been recognized for their efforts on twitter with more than 30,000 followers. The airport proactively uses their twitter to alert and inform passengers with delays and news. They not only use it to broadcast information but also improve the customer’s experience with the customer service hashtag #askgatwick. Gatwick Airport’s use of social media has won them multiple awards in Best Use of Social Media and Innovation in Online Customer Service.

An example of a successful social media campaign is Air China’s Check in with Air China. Air China takes advantage of the Facebook Check In application, creating a new innovative marketing technique. The company partnered up with selected restaurants in Sweden, encouraging customers to check in with Air China for an opportunity to win two complimentary tickets to Asia. This campaign benefited the restaurants and also Air China as they discovered a way for customers to communicate their brand for them.

Instead of buying lots of media, we created it

Social media can be used as a marketing tool, feedback tool as well as a support tool. Brisbane Airport should take advantage of social media, becoming more ‘social media friendly’, keeping up with leading airports such as Gatwick Airport. The airport should also provide incentives, encouraging users to check in, establishing themselves in the online community.