For a while now, industry experts have speculated that Google has set out to become the largest social network. Last week, they made a giant leap in doing just that. Thanks to Google, social activity is no longer limited to social networks. With the launch of SideWiki the entire Internet is the Social Web.
SideWiki allows users to leave comments on any web page and to read comments left by others on any web page. That's right, any web page — including your career site and SEOSite.
Access to SideWiki is currently limited to those with the Google toolbar installed in either Firefox or Internet Explorer, with Chrome coming soon. The user selects then shows the SideWiki window which displays comments left by other users while viewing the same web page. Here's what that looks like:
As a user, all of your comments will be accessible via your Google Profile. For example, by viewing my Google Profile you can now learn my title, employer, location and school, as well as see what sites I've commented on and the comments themselves from SideWiki.
From a company perspective the impact is much greater.
Candidates, former employees, current employees, competitors, vendors and people completely unrelated to your company will all be able to make comments about your career site. The companies who have been hiding from social media will be more unprepared for this — and hoping it will just go away.
If you engage with your audience in social media already, you are ahead of the game. Review your social media policies and make sure your employees know which policies extend across the Internet and which policies are limited to social networking sites. If you have a policy about responding to external blog posts or blog comments on your own site consider extending those to posts on SideWiki.
If you have socially enabled your career site with commenting abilities and sharing tools, you are even further ahead of the curve. We speculate this will continue to be the preferred method of communication as it has the greatest chance of being read by the original publisher. However, if you haven't implemented these tools, users will likely begin to view SideWiki as a means of promoting their opinions. The launch of SideWiki is a big milestone in the web's timeline; one that underscores users' hunger for transparency across the Internet. As the old saying goes, you can run but you can't hide. But, you can be ready.