Web2.0 activities — and by whom?

There was recently a post on ReadWriteWeb that referred to an article on Museum2.0, “How Much Time Does Web 2.0 Take?“.

Lately I’ve posted a few times on the classification of user online behavior that was based on the individual’s motivation. In several cases, we examine users online behaviour and accordingly assign them to a group. This classification may help marketers better understand why people are engaging as they are.

Museum 2.0 looks at things from a different angle altogether. It is geared towards an organization looking to develop an online, web2.0-y presence.
The article also assigns neat little labels to users: (participant, content provider, community director), but these levels of engagement and interaction are recommended based on the amount of time they have available.

When I first read over this article, I was trying to see how this classification complemented or conflicted with the iCitizen and Groundswell classifications. I realized, however, that the Museum 2.0 article was not actually geared towards individuals who would be operating online as individuals. Rather, the article was proposing activities that would be performed on the behalf of an organization.

The challenge in recognizing this was that the same activities are being engaged in by individuals as well as by representatives of organizations. And sometimes, the lines blur. Kelly Mooney co-authored The Open Brand, and she blogs at Mooney Thinks. The Groundswell blog actually incorporates that of Charlene Li. Those individuals engage in an activity both under their own name as well as as a representation of another entity. It may not always be clear which voice is being heard.

As the activities of the individual, the community and the brand become increasingly intermingled, it may seem less important to really recognize from whom the message is coming. However, it is arguably more important to be forthright in acknowledging from whom a given message is coming, so we may understand the meaning behind the message. Just as we cannot assign an individual to a given online behavioural profile if he is not acting on his own behalf, we also have little reason to trust his message. We understand advertising and marketing is different than unsolicited recommendations, and there is a place for each in the market. We simply must know with which we’re dealing.