This past week, instead of using PowerPoint, I used this blog to deliver a private presentation to a group of professional association executives to point out possible applications of “web 2.0” technology to enhance member services; it was a follow on to an earlier PowerPoint presentation.
In planning the live presentation I realized that the most powerful way to do this concerning four selected topics (blogging, RSS feeds, social bookmarking and tagging, and social networking) would be to weave live examples into a presentation.
I’ve given zillions of presentations in the past and have had mixed results with integrating live software and feeds into a presentation projected to a live audience. I’ve had major disasters — an Internet connection went down at the last moment, software didn’t arrive in time, hardware broke down, connections were so slow that audience members dozed off — you name it, I’ve experienced it. So I approached this past presentation with some trepidation.
I had two advantages going into last week. First, my current site vendor, Squarespace, provides a relatively simple way to password-control selected pages of a blog. I was able to prepare a series of pages in my blog that only those with the correct ID and password could see. I could therefore do the presentation to the group and distribute the access information to them so for a week or so following the presentation they could return to the links and pages and post follow up comments and questions.
My second advantage was that the presentation’s sponsor, a major professional association, has a superb meeting facility on its premises. Its crisp and clear overhead video projector worked flawlessly and was flanked by two widescreen flat panel monitors as well as an easily connected sound system.
Since I was using this blog as displayed using my FireFox browser, I was careful to use two features during the presentation. First, I regularly “scaled up” the font size to improve legibility, then I scaled font size back down when navigating. That seemed to work well. Also, when I needed to highlight something, I just “dragged through” the text to highlight it; that seemed to work well, also.
One initial concern I had was, of course, Internet access, but the wireless system available throughout the association’s offices worked fine. Another initial concern that some streaming video files would be blocked turned out to be a non-issue; I wanted to show some snippets of my favorite music video to show how easy it is to embed video in a page. That went off without a hitch, too.
In summary, I’m pleased with how well using the blog worked. I’ll use this approach again.
I debated whether or not to use the term “Web 2.0,” which has fallen out of favor among the cognoscenti. I decided to use it, though, simply because it has to an extent emerged into popular usage and it takes less space to type than the words “social networking and social media.” Here is how I defined “web 2.0” for the group:
The term “web 2.0” describes two dimensions of web based publishing:
1. Web 2.0 as Technology Infrastructure
When used this way, Web 2.0 refers to the ways hardware and software can be used to deliver sophisticated interactive processes over the World Wide Web to anyone with an Internet connection and a standard web browser.
Other hallmarks of Web 2.0 technology are (1) the rapidity with which sophisticated applications can be developed, (2) the ease with which data from different systems can be combined, and the (3) independence from specific types of computers or operating systems.
2. Web 2.0 as Communication and Business Process
When used this way, Web 2.0 refers to the ways people can use the web to easily publish information online, share that information with others, and develop relationships with people who share common interests. Frequently these behaviors are individualistic, spontaneous, and highly decentralized.
It is not unusual for more traditional or hierarchically structured organizations to approach Web 2.0 applications with some caution given the lack of centralized control. It is also believed that the more people who participate in Web 2.0 exchanges of information, the more powerful “network effects” become.