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Web 2.0 Opportunities for Your Mobile Site

Though some people maintain that Web 2.0 is one of the more nebulous "buzz phrases" ever inflicted on the unsuspecting populace, it generally refers to the art of including in your web pages interactive elements from other sites on the Internet.

If web 1.0 was built from static pages that users looked at and scrolled through, Web 2.0 goes a step further, enabling users to share, save, or send your content to other people — and even to contribute their own words, pictures, or videos to your site.

Web 2.0 features enable your biggest fans to become your best allies in popularizing your content via social networking sites and in helping you build out content that other users may find valuable. Determining how much control you want over the content on your site is a philosophical question that you will have to work out for yourself.

In order of the decreasing amount of control that you would exert over the contents of your website:

  1. You can have a completely static page, where the only content that appears is text, photos, videos, or audio that you create and/or choose.

  2. You can have a page that is mostly your content but include a comments section where your audience can include their thoughts and even have a conversation with each other.

  3. You can have a page where you pose a question or announce a contest, and where your audience contributes their written thoughts, photos, videos, or audio, and then argues with each other about which one they like best, and then votes to determine which contribution is most prominently featured.

The risks attendant to entrusting the contents of your website to your audience are obvious to anyone who has spent time reading the comments section underneath controversial political videos on YouTube. Not all the members of your audience are going to behave themselves.

That downside is counterbalanced by the opportunity presented by empowering your users to express themselves creatively in the space you have provided, in delightful ways that you could never have anticipated.

That, in a nutshell, is the Web 2.0 ethos: Provide a space for your audience to participate on their terms. If you’ve done your job as a designer to block obvious spam messages and weed out online trolls, users will pitch in and help police the site themselves.

A 2009 study by the Nielsen company shows that allowing your audience to interact with your content increases the time they spend on your site and makes it 1,000 percent more likely that they will recall what your content is after they leave.

Perhaps one of the best aspects of Web 2.0 is that it’s all about leveraging the great work and helpful resources of other sites on the web by integrating their features into your own sites.

In the case of Flickr, recommended photos appear on the home page or login screen of Flickr that users will see when they are first visiting the site. These pieces of content that are deemed by the site administrators or community managers to have a high degree of "interestingness" are ones that are not only artistically beautiful to look at but also require a degree of technical skill to produce.

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