This post was submitted to You Blog by Barry O.,  a full-time Internet Marketing consultant with 12 years experience in web graphics, HTML, CMS, Linux hosting and A/V production. You can read about website automation and monetization on his blog at http://1Cat.biz ). I loved this post and think that you will too.

1Cat.biz - Website Automation and Monetization Remember in the early ’90’s when we first started hearing about “Alternative Rock”? Well, whatever happened to “Alternative Rock”?

Did it go away? And what exactly was it?

You don’t really hear that term mentioned that often anymore. When you do, the musical style it is referring to kind of sounds like something you’ve heard before.

Actually, it sounds like something you hear everyday, if you listen to main-stream radio.

Alternative Rock didn’t go away. It became main-stream and by definition ceased to be “alternative”.

I for one am grateful that it did because, I really like that sound! I’m sure there are more than a handful of artist and musicians who are also grateful. Because, the “main-streaming” of Alternative Rock catapulted their careers, made them a ton of money and brought them rock-star fame.

But, it also left a lot of great artist in the dust because the “Indie” (Independent) labels that started the “Alternative Rock” sound either sold out to, or were simply crushed by the major labels when they started to pick up on the new sound.

I first started hearing about Web 2.0 in 2005. To me it was the “Alternative Rock” of the Internet world. It was a new, different way of doing things. It was free, open, experimental and a little unorthodox and all of the “cool kids” were doing it.

Many of these new tools were being developed by high school and college “kids” using open source technology that the big, “money-grubbing” corporations had no control over. There was a new sense of freedom and expression on the web that anyone with a computer and Internet connection could tap into.

Well, like most things that catch on in our pop, high-tech culture, Web 2.0 is quickly going from alternative to main-stream. But, while the players are definitely getting bigger (i.e. Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, etc…) I believe there’s still plenty of room for the “little” guy to live the dream, contribute to and benefit from this, maybe not so, brave new frontier.

Now, some of you may argue that I’m way behind the 8-ball on this one and Web 2.0 isn’t “becoming main-stream” but rather, it already “IS main-stream” or that it’s even “old news”.

Well, I guess that all depends on your perspective and who you ask.

If you ask 10 different people, “What is web 2.0?” you’ll most likely get 10 different answers. Even though, they may use some of the same buzz words like blogging, MySpace, FaceBook and RSS an exact definition is hard to come by.

I believe that Web 2.0 can’t be defined by just a certain set of techniques or tools. (Though, new technology is undeniably a large part of Web 2.0)

The greater meaning of Web 2.0 is what those tools empower us to do.

That power is the “Power of Participation”.

It is the power to participate in growing a global, “collective intelligence”. To learn and benefit from those who bring value to our lives from their “honest, intelligent effort” and quite frankly, ignore or weed out those that don’t.

It is the power for us to decide for ourselves, with the help of those we truly trust and respect, instead of being constantly force fed the opinions of those with the most power, influence and money.

It is the power to shrink the globe by being able to instantly communicate with anyone around the world. (And it costs as little as a cup of coffee, in an Internet café, or even free.)

It is the power of freedom to express oneself and be heard and to possibly make some kind of difference.

So, can Web 2.0, “The Power of Participation”, be used by individual Internet Marketers, businesses and organizations to profit from?

Of course it can. That fact is continually proven everyday.

But, when done in a way that ads value to people’s lives, and the world, the rewards will be more than just financial. They will also include the personal satisfaction that comes from helping others and a job well done.

OK, that’s enough pontificating from me. I invite you to exercise your “Power of Participation” by commenting on this post.

Tell me what you think. Tell me where I got it right and where I got it wrong.

Sincerely, Barry O.