The web is splitting in two




THE Internet is growing in two different directions. Blogs and social media are moving in one direction and corporate websites are moving in the other.

Blogs and social networks are inclusive and informal. They invite comment. Like a call-in talk show, they thrive on opinion. Corporate websites are formal, exclusive. They invite quiet study.

These two models are creating two, distinct "poles", each one attracting a different audience-of-the-moment. Traffic moving toward one pole is following the emerging social network. Traffic moving the other way is seeking an equally viable goal — data that comes with better credentials, less opinion, and more verification.

On the commercial side of the web, you can see this split playing out every day. A business will use its corporate site to display price lists, product photos and manufacturing specs. Posted over on its Facebook page are photos of happy customers, newly hired salespeople, and current events as seen through the eyes of the office staff.

In short, the split happening on the Internet simply reveals the two faces of business — one chatty, the other one checking the math and assembling the paperwork.

Because traffic comes in from both directions, it makes sense to maintain both types of sites — one that's gossipy and another one that's corporate.

However, when customers get serious — when money might actually change hands — people will gravitate toward your corporate website.