I belonged to the generation that lived by the belief that you only replace something if it was totally broken. Take for example the first car I bought (a Toyota Corona 1984) – which we only sold a few years ago. Looked okay on the outside but the internal mechanisms on all windows were corroded on the inside and the only way we stopped the windows falling down was teaspoons shoved in the gap between the door and each window. Also used a lot of oil. Only reason we sold it was we needed new tyres and they cost more than the car was worth.
For those of you who can remember these days, wave them goodbye, they are gone. We are now the disposable society – I don’t have the time to keep adjusting the teaspoons in my car windows to keep the car going – quicker to just replace it. Good bye consumer loyalty, it was nice knowing you.
So what does this mean in terms of Web 2.0. There are so many cool Web 2.0 tools being created on a daily basis. For those creating these tools they will need to be smarter with creating their products if they hope to grab and keep consumers.
Lets look at some of the important factors that influence me:
1. Word of mouth
If enough people, whose blog I subscribe to (i.e. I value their thoughts), talk about an Web 2.0 tools in terms of value or potential then I will go and give it a try. Alternatively if a friend (an actual f2f friend) nags me enough like what happened with Live Writer, or recommend it to me, like Firefox, then I feel obligated to give it a try.
2. Immediate engagement
When I start reading a book, if I am not engaged within half a page of reading forget it that book is history. The same principle applies to Web 2.0. With so many to choose from, and such limited time they have to grab my attention when I first visit their site and test it.
However, please note, this factor is not always the case there are lots of examples of Web 2.0 tools that I have not had immediate engagement with and it has only been over time that I have come to appreciate them. Initially I had the I don’t get it factor (what is in it for me to use this tool).
3. Ease of use
With some many to choose from it is important that they are easy and very initiative to use. If I can easy use your Web 2.0 tool without reading instructional manuals you have passed this test. Actually ToonDudes comment on my Tools of the Trade post was very timely because I had planned to use ToonDoo as a Web 2.0 tool that absolutely exemplifies this principle; they created ToonDoo so that anyone of any age can easily use it without much guidance. (Please note – I think the issue with embedding ToonDoo comics (and Widgets) is with WordPress not Edublogs – maybe James can clarify?).
4. Its better
If your tool is not that initiative to use, then if a better product becomes available I will choose the better product. While I love my iPod – to me iTunes to me is an example of a program that could be made a lot better. I am not alone in this belief – I know many people who are using alternative options because iTunes does not pass the idiot proof factor.
At the moment the main reason people are loyal to particular software is they are afraid that they make break something or sign up to something bad by using online tools or downloading software. As people become more digitally literate their concerns will go and with it their loyalty.
There is an increasing expectation with the proliferation of Web 2.0 tools that most great tools you will be able to get for free.
As a consumer of the disposable society:
- I won’t spend time making purchasing decisions (researching it until I make the best purchasing choice – I don’t have time – in fact if I can get the best product for free than I will not be purchasing it)
- I am no longer loyal
- I will switch and change without hesitation to a new product if the look and feel of the product makes me believe it is better