Over the weekend, in fact on Friday at the cricket with some mates, I uttered the immortal words: “Have you got a website?” to the brother of one of my work-related friends. The brother in question builds models of plastic for theatre, movies, shows, etc. The raised eyebrow response from a number of our party wasn’t entirely unexpected, even though I was honestly enquiring, rather than selling.
The simple fact of the matter is that the modelling dude doesn’t have anywhere for serious businesspeople to go and look at some of his wares. The reality of the age we live in today is that if you do something for a living that is of a visual nature it’s going to be quite important that there is an outlet for third party viewing of anything, which has a physical and thereby visual nature to it.
During that particular conversation we settled on the minimum requirement – a Flickr account. This would provide a place where people could go to see some of the works built to date. Done.
Underdone, however, is the entry level understanding of what really is out there and available for no money to people who should really be displaying their wares. It’s easy for us to dismiss this as ignorance, but I promise you, that the vast majority of people outside our fluffy insulation don’t think about the Internet morning, noon and night.
That’s what makes it very difficult to put up a valid, relevant view on how the Internet is being used, and what people are using it for. From a business perspective there is evidence of SME businesses utilising the Web to show off their wares, but these are exceptions for the most part not norms.
What's a blog?
From a recreational perspective, of course, Facebook and iPlayer are the toys of the masses but in many cases that is the end of the Web experience, not the beginning. It’s refreshing to hear people say “what is Twitter for?”, or “you’ve got a what?” (blog). Because of the industry we are in I for one have discovered a wealth of online resources and applications that I would simply not have known the existence of. If I behaved like a non-specialist, who knows what I may have found or not found (404). I may very well have a Facebook profile, and look at YouTube, but I doubt I’d StumbleUpon anything, nor would I blog, nor would I use DropBox, Picasa, Spotify, mFlow, Google Docs, SlideShare, LastFM, Bitlify, Quidco, Crowdity and the wealth of online forums and resources I use to carve my days. Services that improve the consumer existences of many a common folk.
I once recently ‘let the Web take me’ and I ended up with two dozen browsers open, videos of people painting things, bags of music content, a story about chickens in West Africa, graffiti in Hackney, a load of Facebook profiles open, blogs about blogs. Chaos.
What's My Point?
Oh yes… “customer journey”. Customer is defined over and over but ultimately remains a human individual. The journey drums up a world of emotion, and references to long ago days, romance, the travel and the adventure; that the journey is positive. Enjoyable. Worthwhile. Relevant. That’s our responsibility as Web professionals: that we maximize the relevance of the journey.