by Matthew Gain
If like me you have heard the term Web 3.0 and the semantic web, but aren’t really sure what it means then watch the video I have embedded below. It is around 15 minutes, but is well worth the time investment. If you can’t spare the time I have attempted a summary below it.
The mini doco is by Kate Ray, a NYU Psychology and Journalism major student. It is incredibly interesting and got me thinking about the impact of Web 3.0 on the PR industry.
As I note below, the impact and potential of the semantic web is difficult for even the experts in the field to get their head around, so this post is a fairly large act of hubris by me, but hopefully it is a conversation starter. I would love to hear your thoughts as well, even if they are to tell me I don’t have a clue.
Web 3.0 from Kate Ray on Vimeo.
My summation/major take outs:
- It has never been easier to create content for the web. Every single Tweet is a new page that is created for the web. A pretty scary concept when you consider how often some people tweet. The outcome is that Google and the current tools we use to navigate and sort information on the web will soon no longer be able to cope.
- The rise in choice and access to information is confronting for people. People want simplicity, not more access to choice.
- The semantic web creates relationships between separate pieces of data to provide context and meaning. For example the semantic web may know that a CD review of Kanye West despite being given a five star rating by the reviewer may be of no interest to me because I have previously posted on Twitter how I dislike Kanye.
- The majority of thinking is that ontologies (a sort of agreed system for labeling the web) are required for the semantic web to work. I personally can’t see how it will work otherwise, but also think any labeling system will have many issues and flaws.
- Even the experts in this field have trouble imagining what is possible in terms of applications for the semantic web.
Watching this I tried to think about the impact web 3.0 will have on the PR industry.
- The old way of doing business where managers look after the media in a given market will become redundant. How people make decisions or are impacted by influence will become more personalised than ever. The information people receive will be more about their past interactions, others they engage with online and the products they purchase and less about where they live.
- The prioritisation of media will become more difficult than ever. In a world where information will be delivered in a niche manner on demand, the old PR economies of reach and influence matter considerably less.
- PR and customer service will move closer together. As the importance of mass media declines and the importance of the individual rises, the separation between journalist and everyday individual will become pointless.
- Everybody will become a company spokesperson. Building on the point above it will be impossible for traditional spokespeople to devote time to the growing number of on the record statements required. Rather corporate affairs and PR departments will need to train the entire organisation for influencer engagements.
- The tools for monitoring sentiment will be dizzyingly complicated. Monitoring your PR reputation simply by looking at the major news outlets outlets will seem archaic (if it isn’t already). Instead, PR departments will employ specially trained analysers to make sense of the wealth of data required to understand the public sentiment towards an organisation.
- PR will be even more important to an organisation. When everybody’s opinion matters, PR will be a paramount consideration in every decision a business makes.
You could argue the above points are where PR is headed now whilst we are still getting to grips with Web 2.0. Irrespective, I would love your thoughts on how you think the semantic web will impact PR. Do you agree? Am I way off the mark? What other impacts will Web 3.0 have on how organisations do PR?