A different way of thinking

I have enjoyed reading “The Groundswell,” a required text for my Interactive Writing and Design class. The book talks about the groundswell which is basically the users of the internet and how they dictate decisions on the Web.

The old way of thinking is that the business decides what to put on their Web site, how it is presented and what they want the message to be, but today that concept has changed. Every day the groundswell is changing the way Web sites are viewed and the most popular Web sites are now the ones in which content is picked by the users themselves.

Take Digg.com and Fark.com, two of the more popular sites which have their content organized according to what users like and what they are looking at online that day. With Digg.com users rate or “digg” stories and then the stories with the most diggs are listed on the homepage which increases the probability that the story will be read. On Fark.com users submit links and then the more popular and interesting links wind up on the homepage.

These primarily user generated sites are dominating a new culture of surfing the Web. YouTube works the same way.

Other sites rely on comments or reviews from users that then influence other user’s decisions and change the message of the company or product. For example, if coke is introducing a new drink, they might have a message or an angle in which they want to introduce it, but in reality, the only opinion about the product that is going to be taken literally is the one by the users, or the groundswell. The reviews of the product will stand out and shape the product’s perception.

Users are no longer taking the message or the product from the business, they are relying on other users and cutting out the business all together. In comes Ebay or Craigslist where users buy products from each other instead of business.

This concept is truly powerful and the sooner the media can capitalize on this new market the better. We are trying, but it’s much too slow of a process.

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