I spent Tuesday evening in New York City at a blogger conference, the Mashable NextUp NYC event. Guest speakers included representatives from major media companies and Web 2.0-crazed college students and recent college graduates. I bet many of those "kids" -- armed with their Web 2.0 communication skills -- could propel the managed services industry forward. But the Web 2.0 workforce also comes with some limitations.
First, let me focus on the positive: The Web 2.0 generation will help traditional businesses reinvent their marketing, PR, branding and communication strategies. They will push us forward with search engine optimization and community building.
Got A Business Plan?Now, for the negative: The Web 2.0 generation also has a sense of entitlement. One speaker -- I don't want to name names -- celebrated her huge following on the web. She also mentioned she had no plans to take on basic entry-level job tasks after graduating from college. Then, when quizzed about her online readership and her plans to generate online revenue, she basically told conference attendees: "I have no idea how to make money on the web."
That was a familiar theme throughout the night: Talented speakers who know how to drive traffic and drive dialog on the Web, but only a few of the speakers had a feel for how to build a business or run a business.
Now, let's apply that example to a managed services business: If you hire a Web 2.0 college graduate, they will likely offer you a range of creative, disruptive ideas that you'd never see on your own.
Turning Ideas Into ROIBut once you start asking the hard questions -- how does that Web 2.0 idea help our brand? How much will it cost? What's the potential return on investment? -- the real fun, and learning between you and your new hire will begin.
Alas, many members of the Web 2.0 generation still have to learn the following: A blog is not a business; it's a communications tool that can assist a business.
We're at a tricky point with Web 2.0 media. MSPs do need to polish their online brands and communication efforts. And we can all learn quite a lot from the Web 2.0 generation. But this is going to be a two-way learning experience: Many of the Web 2.0 college graduates need mentors in the business world. Let me know if you plan to be one of those mentors.
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