Morning Keynote: Larry Weber of W2 Group is talking about "the social web" and community building. Larry thinks of the current web as "web 4.0":
- Web 1.0: 1989 - 1994 - HTML
- Web 2.0 (1994-1997) - the browser
- Web 3.0: (1997-2001) - early social media
- Web 4.0 (present) - social media
Branding is changing due to the social web - users have control of the message, and the conversation is now running in multiple directions. In terms of community: Go back to the 17th century, New York City had 39 newspapers, and they were the social media of the day. A lot of the conversations you need to track are happening online on new media sites (example: Boing Boing) that are growing in importance.
Good point about getting links and attention - you need gto make your content interesting, and make an effort to be found. There have been a spate of "faux blogs" (he's bringing up "Ford Bold Moves" as an example) that corporate marketing groups have been setting up. If the site isn't authentic, it will cause problems. Larry mentions that he tried posting some feedback on that site, and the feedback was somewhat negative - it got dropped down the memory hole by the site editors. Being inauthentic doesn't help you.
It's not about talking at customers and prospects - it's about the conversation (you could get all of this by spending a few days reading Doc Searl's blog, btw). Larry thinks you're going to see more growth in niche social networks devoted to specific interest groups - and those groups will be partially walled gardens for those groups (this I'm not sure about, but it might run that way).
Interesting things here at the end: Media Relations and Crisis Management - those are going to be moving more and more to a need to react to online buzz storms (there are plenty of business and political examples of this; Larry mentioned a campaign that ran against a specific Wal-Mart policy).
Interesting point: forget demographics. It's all about behavior now, and you can split out that information much more easily now. "Marketing should be more like running a 24x7 TV show" - constantly adapting and changing. You need compelling content and it needs to be updated constantly. When aggregating the information being spread about you, you don't need to track all of it - you need to track the most relevant ones (Google/Technorati reputation).
Engage your communities in conversation, and they'll come to you. Very important - make sure the relevant influencers know who you are. Very important: Don't squelch negative feedback. Accept it as valid feedback and react appropriately to it.
Interesting reaction to a question - Larry thinks that Second Life will fail. The idea of virtualization works for entertainment, but he doesn't think that a general purpose virtual world will work out in the long run (i.e., he thinks you'll see niches).
Larry thinks blogs and podcasts should go aggressively niche - meaning, no "general purpose" corporate blog. He mentions that Jonathan Schwartz disagrees with him on that :)