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There are few better websites than the BBC, and there are few organizations that truly get what the Web is about better than the BBC. I came across a set of 15 BBC Web Principles some time ago, and thought, "These should be the principles of the Web."

Fully seven of the principles could be summarized as follows: In a network, network. They deal with how organizations need to redefine themselves in a truly networked world. These principles are as follows:
1. Do not attempt to do everything yourselves: link to other high-quality sites instead. Your users will thank you. Use other people's content and tools to enhance your site, and vice versa.
2. Treat the entire Web as a creative canvas: don't restrict your creativity to your own site.
3. The web is a conversation. Join in: Adopt a relaxed, conversational tone. Admit your mistakes.
4. Make sure all your content can be linked to, forever.
5. Maximize routes to content: Develop as many aggregations of content about people, places, topics, channels, networks and time as possible. Optimize your site to rank high in Google.
6. Let people paste your content on the walls of their virtual homes: Encourage users to take nuggets of content away with them, with links back to your site.
7. Link to discussions on the web, don't host them: Only host web-based discussions where there is a clear rationale.
What we have here is open-organization thinking. The BBC is thinking beyond its physical boundaries, beyond its staff boundaries. It is seeking to feed and be fed by the Web.
In the beginning of the Web was the link, not the word. Linking is an inherently open, collaborative, and sharing activity. To link demands thinking beyond the webpage, the cell, the silo, and the historical concept of the organization.
The Web organization is not measured by how many employees or webpages it has. It is measured by how linked it is. The web organization is nomadic. Its home is wherever its links are, wherever its content is re-published, wherever what it is about is being talked about. The Web organization thinks beyond the website.
The Web organization strives to be a hub, not an outpost. It actively seeks out and encourages others to link to it. The Web organization participates. It starts and contributes to conversations, and does not worry about who came up with the
idea first.
The Web organization spends more time thinking about what it should share than what it shouldn't. Its first position is: Let's share this unless there's a really good reason not to. It assumes that its competitors know it already. It sees its strength in the network it is building, not necessarily what is on the network at any point in time.
The Web organization sees openness as a key strength and closedness as a major weakness. In summary, the organization that succeeds on the Web accepts this core principle: The Web is the organization.

Continue reading "7 Main Principles of the Web" ... Read the full article

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image of Gerry McGovern
Gerry McGovern ( is a content management consultant and author. His latest book is The Stranger's Long Neck: How to Deliver What Your Customers Really Want Online, which teaches unique techniques for identifying and measuring the performance of customers' top tasks.