What Sidewiki Means for You and Your Business
Google is not always the first to market with some of its products, in fact it usually isn't, but it's getting good at mastering the products and services it goes after. Sidewiki is the next product that Google hopes to turn to gold. By allowing web visitors to contribute to any webpage, Sidewiki pushes the envelope of the social web. It isn't a new concept, plugins have been around for years that do the exact same thing (Wikalong, for example), the difference is that this one is backed by Google.
What does this mean for users? Well, how many times have you found the answers to your questions about a topic in the comments of blog posts, instead of the posts themselves? Many authors are disconnected from their audience, but comments give the visitors a chance to have conversations that dig down to the answers. Sidewiki brings these conversations out of the blogosphere onto the entire web. Sidewiki is going to be a great opportunity to leave your footprint on all the interesting websites you visit.
What does this mean for your business? For one, its another outpost you need to be aware of. An outpost, as defined by Chris Brogan, refers to those social sites you might consider maintaining a presence with. People are going to have the ability to comment on your website -- they'll post questions, say positive things, and negative things. It's important to be aware of this, and more important to play an active role in the conversation. Contribute positive insight on other industry websites and people will begin to pay attention to you, follow you back to your profile on Google and eventually to your home base such as your corporate website or blog. This personal branding can pay off for your business as well by drawing attention to both you, and your company.