Over the past two decades the world has experienced a phenomenal
rise in popularity of new Internet technologies in the shape of innovative
software, applications and services.
Online social networking websites, blogging, Wikis and multimedia
sharing have all become the mainstay of what we now describe as the World Wide
Web, and all have the common function of allowing end-users customise and share
information with others online. The old
ways of understanding the Internet - one where content was in the hands of the
few - is quickly fading into memory.
People now build their personal profiles and share information with
friends using freely available, easy-to-use social software on available
platforms. With Internet activity
rapidly evolving organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to remain
successful doing business the old way. The traditional methods of reaching
audiences have broken down and become critically fragmented. Business can no longer simply interrupt the
dialogue occurring online with their message they must somehow become part of
the discourse. Into this environment
steps the web widget. Widgets are short
software programs that display content in small screen format. At present they are largely seen as fun
objects but with their ability to be virally syndicated across the network, and
elsewhere, any message associated with the application will stealthy find its
way into people’s private online space.
This paper endeavours to demonstrate the advertising and marketing
potential from the use of web widgets, particularly given modern web operating
environments, by using an innovative methodology. The research sets out to reinforce the belief
that online social networking, the main delivery vehicle for widgets, is a
popular and growing mode of modern communication and, widgets are easy to use
and virally distributed to a number of diverse platforms. In addition, the paper investigates how
people interact with these applications in a very practical manner, to further
expand upon current understanding of the World Wide Web in these new emerging
and challenging online environments.