Work in Progress: The Now Web
A JWT Trendletter, August 2009
A new Web is emerging, one characterized by constantly updating streams of real-time information, conversation, memes and images that's markedly different from the static pages that once defined the Web. Given the growing influence of these streams, brands must understand what the Now Web is about and jump in. This Work in Progress explains what the Now Web looks like and examines its implications for mass culture, entertainment and media. It explores what marketing with a Now mind-set means,and takes a closer look at campaigns that have captured the Now.
- What's different about the Now Web? What sites and services are typically "Now"?
- How is the Now Web fostering the rise of mass experiences? What are the positive and negative implications of this?
- What's the potential for entertainment programming to become a more "Now"experience?
- How is this trend impacting the news media?
- How can brands become more "Now"? Which brands are doing what in this space? What does a "Now"campaign look like?
The Now Web is less static and more dynamic. The conversations enabled by social media are a central element, with Twitter and Facebook as key tools. More emphasis is being placed on real-time search and mobile connectivity. These real-time conversations are giving rise to an increasingly mass culture – people around the globe are experiencing events together, using the Web to rally like-minded people, spreading Internet memes and sometimes rumors rapidly.
The rise of real-time, interactive viewing on the Web is also bringing entertainment programming into the Now; at the same time, television will increasingly enable more live interaction among viewers. The weaving of the real-time stream into entertainment has many possible applications.
As the Now Web shifts our perceptions of "current," how and where we get news is quickly changing. The real-time stream is a challenge to traditional news media, but the best providers of content, and those most able to leverage networks and relationships within the stream, may gain new audiences.
For businesses and brands, the Now Web will make it increasingly easy to get a finger on hot topics and consumer sentiment. The challenge is to also respond in Now time. Brands must tune into real-time conversations and participate in dialogue through social media; marketers can also inject a measure of Now into brands by making their Web sites, and even their ad campaigns, more real-time. As the stream of information that people consume, produce and share online flows ever faster, they will increasingly expect brands to be along for the ride.
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