Porn (and granny porn- nice one, Tam!). Viruses. Spams. Scams. Account hacking. Cybercrimes. No one could possibly deny the existence and proliferation of these evil things in the Internet. At the very least, we may have been victimized by any of these Net horrors (the all-too-common spams and viruses). OR we may have actually tried and indulged into these sinful cyber pleasures (oh you know what I’m talking about).
For these awful things, I may be the first to curse the Net. But I have to say there are much more reasons for loving the Web, even enough to cover for all its evil.
For where there is evil and hatred, there is also LOVE. That’s right. If there is one thing positively cultivated by Web 2.0 and the new social media among its users, it’s love. Now let me put that term in context. I am not exactly referring to a couple’s love (though the Net has proven itself to be a promising venue to meet future partners). And of course, never would I have interest in talking about erotic love (though this one may be most famous online given porn and granny porn). When I say love, I mean genuine and pure love— love that is meant to be shared, seeks to serve, and is selfless. And this love is found in no other place, but the new social media.
The new social media is best in breaking barriers. Businesses that optimize the NSM deliberately tear down their walls and open themselves up to the world. As they do this, they dismiss solitary operations and start functioning through collaboration. They expand their horizons and work within a bigger field with more players.
One way of doing this is through the practice of mass collaboration. Companies seek to build communities and engage consumers in product development. Many companies start a dialogue online and empower its brand users to sustain the conversation. They talk about ways to improve a product, or resolve and revamp a failing brand practice. By doing so, businesses are democratizing control of the product or the service. They are sharing the brand with its actual users and advocates.
Organizations and individuals alike take part in a collaborative operation to do service to the brand. They willingly contribute ideas to uphold and even improve the quality of the product or service they equally love. Because the company shares the brand with the consumers through opening the product development process, the people take time to offer real suggestions for brand improvement. This working relationship benefits both parties. The brand advocates are guaranteed with a premium product and service quality. The organization is assured of the trust, support, and participation of its consumers in the company’s future.
Mass collaboration and peer production could be said to work on the principle of selflessness. When organizations take part in Wikinomics, they adopt less of themselves and welcome more of others.
In product development for instance, businesses take time to look out of their own practices and the capacities of their employees, and start to consider the rich potentials of the people. With the new social media, companies could easily open their doors for the public’ ideas and be amazed that the consumers and product users have brilliant things to say—be it a suggestion to include another flavor in the line of existing products or an advice to improve the packaging. In this process of co-creation, organizations live to bring out the best in others.
Web 2.0 love in practice
My Starbucks Idea (MSI) was launched by Starbucks in 2008 as an effort to open the company to the greater community and start interacting with its customers through product co-creation. MSI has four components:
- Share: Community members post their Starbucks Idea.
- Vote: The community sees what other members have suggested and may vote to support the idea or not.
- Discuss: Comment streams allow the community to discuss, question, and comment on the ideas posted.
- See: The community members are informed on the actions taken by the company regarding the discussed ideas.
The site consolidated more than 75, 000 ideas with thousands of votes and comments in 2009. This attempt by Starbucks to engage consumers and encourage them to talk about their ideas and suggestions works in line with the Web 2.0 love of being selfless, sharing, and serving. It does not limit planning and idea generation to the Starbucks employees but share the work with the brand fans. The result? A collaborative Starbucks community that peer-produces and co-creates the loved brand.