Back in the early days of the web it was easy being a webmaster. If you had some design skills, and could learn HTML and maybe some basic coding in PERL you could run a website and be successful. It did not take much. I look back at some of the sites I worked on when I was first starting out and when I was working for a web company in Saskatoon and realize that those static websites served their purpose then. The sites were there to put information out about the company, to release the odd news release, put the financial reports out about the company and generally to make the company look good. The sites worked then, the problem is those same sites, while they have gotten facelifts and maybe an RSS feed, are still doing the same thing. The information is stale and the web has moved on. Being a webmaster is dead.
The web today is no longer about dry stale information. It is about constant communication. It is about connecting with people. There is a place for static information on a website, but people want and expect more than just static information. They want to communicate with the people behind a site. People want real human contact. People want conversations and relationships with those behind a website.
Corporations that are not embracing the new web are being left behind. People are talking about corporations on the web and if those corporations are not there to listen and take part in those conversations you are going to lose.
Some corporations are starting to get it. They are watching what is being said on blogs and on Twitter. When Michael Arrington’s Comcast Internet connection went down, his post on Twitter got noticed by Comcast, and his problem was fixed.
Here in Canada we are a little slower, but companies here had better start to listen. For example, take a look at this search I did for Sasktel on Summize. Of the nine tweets, five are negative. Sasktel are you listening to what your customers are saying?
What about Rogers cable or Shaw cable? Are they listening? The web is changing fast and corporations need to change fast to keep up. Corporations need to start being a part of the conversations that people are having or they will no longer be relevant. Being a webmaster now is about being a part of the conversation. No longer can webmasters be lone guns creating their own little websites. They need to be out there, be social, and be apart of the new web. Long live the new webmaster!