By Ricky Brandt, PRSSA member
When Nathan T. Wright graduated from Iowa State in 1999, social media was merely an idea bouncing around the dark crevasses of the Internet waiting to take shape. Curious about what the Internet could offer him, he decided to put his soul up for sale on Ebay. Nathan’s quick joke sold for $46, and within 48 hours he was basking in his 15 minutes of national fame.
Today, five years after founding Lava Row, a social consulting firm Wright founded from his couch, major corporations come to him for training on how to incorporate themselves into the social conversation.
“Web 1.0 was all about e-commerce and retail… then Web 2.0 came along, which was all about social networks, and that disrupted almost everything,” Wright explained at the February 22 PRSSA meeting. “But the big question is what will Web 3.0 be like?”
Wright believes that Web 3.0 will be all about “Big Data.” With Internet speeds at an all-time high, and the high amount of traffic created by individuals across the world, we are generating masses of data that marketing firms will sell their soul for.
Think Web 3.0 is waiting far in the future? Think again. Facebook’s new Timeline will let you browse your entire online and offline life with just a few clicks. This innovative take on a social profile is essentially a huge data mine of everything you think, do, and (most importantly) like that Facebook uses to target ads back at you.
Wright also pointed to a service that is already taking full advantage of our data from across the web. Time Hop allows users to receive a daily email of what was going on within all of their social networks exactly one year ago. With the exponential growth of technology in our world, should we really be surprised by this quick advancement of the Internet?
A graph created by Baekdal.com shows us that not only does new media move in and out of style at quicker and quicker rates, but it is moving towards more data intensive and individualized mediums.
For Lava Row, the constantly evolving environment of the Internet means only one thing: Big Business. As companies come to understand their potential role in the social sphere, they require the training and advice Lava Row can offer them.
When asked how they learn to adapt to new networks that could benefit their clients Wright explained that it all stems from personal use, “We like to study things first before we actually recommend it.”
For example, Lava Row will not start training companies on how to use the Internet’s latest craze, Pinterest, until this summer. This gives them the greatest chance of success online.
The Internet has already taken humanity into a golden era of communication. As the web transitions into an unparalleled data intensive entity, we can expect to see Lava Row leading the pack of social media consulting firms trying to give their clients the greatest advantage possible.
As a man who has quite literally given his soul to the Internet, Wright clearly understands the power of the Internet. Today, power is found in how we use social networking sites. Tomorrow, power will be found within the Internet —Big Data.
Follow Nathan T. Wright on Twitter @nathantwright
Follow Ricky Brandt on Twitter @RickBrandt18