Welcome to the Interact Congress Blog. We have invited some leading European guest bloggers to share their observations on interactive marketing and communication skills within the integrated experience. The blog also offers you a first opportunity to interact with your peers.

For more information about the congress, please visit www.interactcongress.eu

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Esther Dyson: companies must participate to the communities

The 2008 Interact Congress is arriving, so we could relaunch this blog starting with an interview with Ms. Esther Dyson, one of our great panelist during the past Interact edition.

Mauro Lupi: Recently, the Nike CEO said to New York Times: "We're not in the business of keeping the media companies alive. We're in the business of connecting with consumers". Do you think that companies have really the possibility to bypass the traditional media and interact directly with the consumers? They should become a sort of media publisher too?

Esther Dyson: Absolutely, companies will be able to bypass traditional media to interact directly with consumers. But they won't necessarily be able to get consumers to come to their own websites. In many cases, they will have to join the communities where consumers gather - whether it's special-interest groups on Facebook or vertical-market sites. But they will have to participate in the activities of the community (rather than just post ads) - much as Nike might sponsor a local basketball game and send a rep or local sports-store owner. It wouldn't simply post a billboard; it would send someone to congratulate the winners....

M.L.: All around us there are digital contents, and they continue to grow exponentially. In your opinion, what is the more efficient technology that will help people to manage this rising amount of data? Better search engines? Social search? Semantic web? Other?

E.D.: It will require a broad range of approaches - just as it does now. But all these approaches will be built out... Things will be so easily findable, and systems will present them without even being asked... Instead of searching for things, people will have to filter them out.

M.L.: On the last column on The Wall Street Journal, you wrote about the power of social networks to understand user needs and behavior. Do you think that general internet users, especially the younger, are yet ready to understand and manage what this means in terms of privacy? How the good publisher will establish the users' trust?

E.D.: General internet users will have a different understanding of privacy as time goes by. They will not want "privacy" as much as control over their own data. And they will learn how to manage their data, just as they have learned how to pay taxes, buy things online, and do other complex things of modern life. People will. Publishers and merchants can earn users' trust by being trustworthy themselves. They need to be transparent, clear about their motivations, and accessible. They need to listen to consumers, not track or observe them. They need to treat them as individuals, not as market segments.

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