Top 10 Things I Learned from Web 2.0 Expo

I attended the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco earlier this year. It’s one of my favorites social media gatherings of the year and I always walk away energized. From my notes, here are my top 10 things I learned at Web 2.0 Expo:

1.       The Internet is disruptive because it changes who we are as people

a.       Digital shifts how and where we spend our time and our expectations

b.      We are changing faster than our institutions

c.       We are defining a new era of society and how we ultimately connect and communicate with one another

2.       Social engagement – when we understand the people we’re trying to engage, we lower the barriers to that engagement

a.       Hire people for social engagement who have a burning passion for  the customer – it’s not about the technology

b.      Social media is not just building the breadth of customer relationships but also the depth of those relationships

c.       Need to reach outside SM comfort zone and reach communities outside our standard groups

3.       Building social in the organization – should not be a silo, there’s a potential for complete business transformation

a.       Social can build value across organizations & create new connections

b.      Many companies fear customers will say something bad – get over it. They’re going to do it anyway & you might as well be in the conversation

4.       Use the community to solve problems that you may not have been aware of

a.       Create ways to operationalize social feedback into product & service development

b.      Addressing customer issues via social can help build advocacy.

c.       Eventually, real-time customer service is not fast enough – you’ve got to fix the real problem.

5.       To serve our audience we need to overcome our legacies and engage in new ways.

a.       Traditional customer view: source of cash, gullible, task oriented, highly rational

b.      Build empathy & view our customer as a whole: Intellectual + Emotional + Rational

6.       Business culture works against social media

a.       Most business change takes years but social media change is constantly evolving

b.      Don’t try to live on the cutting edge – prioritize what’s important & focus on areas which help accomplish your business objectives

c.       The best way to promote change from w/in the organization is to appeal to what’s important to them

7.       Measuring social media impact – ROI is a financial measurement not a social impact measurement. Much of the impact from social are difficult to quantify in financial terms. Need to redefine objectives as value creation.

  • “We tend to overvalue the things we can measure and undervalue the things we cannot” – John Hayes, AmEx

8.       Why do companies turn their social media strategy over to interns?

a.       A business’ social strategy should be understood in context of overall business strategy – from the top-down

b.      Social strategy should not just be left to those who have dabbled in social

9.       Customer experience is not something an organization buys – it’s a mindset it adopts

a.       Design a social program that is proactive to engage community not just reactive to customer service issues

10.   Inventions must fit the world it is completing not the world as it is now.


Resources: Tim O’Reily, Brian Solis, Charlene Li, Joshua Ross, Natalie Petouhoff, Peter Merholz, w/ apologies to any of the speakers I may have forgot.

About Scott Lum

Disruptive digital, social & content marketer with a passion for customer experience. Formerly with Microsoft.
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