The Web is the network. The Web is the organization. Your website is not important. Reaching your customers is.A website has substance. You can count the number of web pages and the number of visitors. It is something you can show to your manager. It is something you can talk about in a way that others will understand.
Organizations came into being because for certain things people organized in groups are more effective than individuals on their own. A key feature of a traditional organization is that it has the use of buildings and other tools of organization.
So, at a very basic level a company has the use of a boardroom where the board can meet. It has the use of other meeting rooms and it has offices where the employees can work. Within this physical structure are tools of organization such as phone systems.
Before phone systems, organizations used a variety of courier systems to transfer information, because clear and consistent communication is at the heart of what organizations do.
Organizations also have filing systems. These include filing cabinets and computer storage that can often take up many rooms. It is important that records of activity are kept and are easily accessible.
Historically, it was not easy to be an organization. Because organizations existed within a network of other organizations quite a bit of money, training and connections was required. For example, if you were a member of the upper class, you had a better chance of establishing a successful organization than a member of the lower class.
The Web makes the tools of organization cheap and widely available. This is a major revolution. Power shifts. It was not that long ago that the ability to have a conference call with a group of people was only available if you worked with a large organization. Now you can do it for free with Skype.
The general public now have the ability to create their own organizations, and that's what they are doing with their websites, on Facebook, on MySpace. Wikipedia is an example of a new organization-type that simply could not have existed before the Web.
Traditional organizations are not used to this and they don't like it. They are used to organizing. Governments are used to coming up with policies and procedures which citizens are then supposed to adhere to. Citizens are supposed to learn government language and how government works. There's very little in government organizational training that encourages you to go out and update a record in Wikipedia and then defend that update.
If your product or service is being discussed in the blogosphere, you must be there, listening and contributing. Is it more important to publish your content on your website or on the websites most of your customers frequent? If your organization has particular words for describing a service, and those are not the words your customers search with, you must change your words. On the Web, we need to think beyond the organization
. What is success? Is it that having a website? Or is it getting people to act in a certain way? It is the results of what you organize that matters, not the organization you created or where you created it.
About the Author
Gerry McGovern, a content management author and consultant
, has spoken, written and consulted extensively on writing for the web and web content management issues since 1994.