Monday, July 14, 2008

O'Reilly Media and Web 2.0

When it comes to Web 2.0, there is a name that walks hand-in-hand with this concept: O’Reilly Media. Originally formed in 1978 as a technical writing consultancy, O’Reilly Media has grown to one of the most prominent technical information publishing companies, providing books, magazines, online services, and conferences focusing on innovations and developments in technology. The animal woodcuts featured on their books have become a hallmark of one of the most reliable resources on electronic expertise and technological trends.

O’Reilly is the birthplace of the term Web 2.0; founder Tim O'Reilly gave the name and definition to this nebulous concept in a 2005 conference. To check out the conclusions and findings of this summit, visit What Is Web 2.0 on O'Reily's site.

Knowing how the Web 2.0 label started is a good starting point for understanding how to use the technology today. In the Web 1.0 days, it was enough if your company's website declared your its presence to the world. Soon that was not enough - your site had to provide interaction for customers as part customer retention. Now, with Web 2.0 your site must do more - be an influence source on other sites, engage your customers, and help customers attract other customers to you. Can a mere website bear the weight of this responsibility?

To close the circle, refer back again to O'Reilly. Their technical manuals are industry standard for determining how to implement and create sites that can meet the demands of the Web 2.0 era. If you're having trouble with some new fangled website feature, they have the resources to help - from Podcasting Hacks to Wikipedia: The Missing Manual they'll have you covered.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Whirlpool as a solution provider

Despite its long association in the consumer's mind with big white appliances, Whirlpool has been producing a wide variety of products that can be found in just about every room of one’s home and in many colors. However, one of the most interesting features the company now offers is its series of podcasts. One might assume that any podcasts found on the Whirlpool website would inform a consumer how to get their whites whiter with their washing machines or why they really need a water filtration system, but they would be pleasantly surprised to find a variety of features meant to provide solutions information for many family household problems.

The American Family audio podcasts focus on the many issues of raising a family, how to play with your toddler, what your child’s handwriting means, and how to keep your home organized as examples. Because of this socially conscious and innovative effort, we’re highlighting Whirlpool's efforts - check out The American Family at Whirlpool.com.

When it comes to podcasting, the possibilities are endless for both providing information and learning something new. This kind of podcast positions Whirlpool with the customer as a well informed source for household information, reinforcing Whirlpool's market position as a respected manufacturer of home appliances. It also positions Whirlpool as a trusted purveyor of solutions to household problems, rather than a mere peddler of hard goods. Think about how this might apply to your product - can you broaden the appeal by explaining how your product solves a common problem?