Online hubs have risen to prominence recently. Offering single pages of information, albeit largely advertorial (no matter how covert), they allow for a free exchange of ideas and advice. But they also allow you to stream numerous sources into one convenient place, providing a plethora of opportunities for information gatherers and producers.
If you look at most current hub pages, there’s a fair chance that they’ll be outwardly informative but also feature links to external sites – ordinarily as part of an extensive SEO link building strategy. However, hubs are more than just an opportunity to sell your wares; they provide the next leap in online communities.
Social networking as we know it has its problems, just as it has many benefits. One of its failings though has to be mediation. However focussed you may be, using bookmarking tools in conjunction with sites like Twitter and Facebook, you are almost inevitably bombarded with erroneous information and conversations.
The ‘social’ aspect of Web 2.0 is something that has clearly gripped the imagination of the Global Village’s populous. Rightly so too. Whilst it has been distorted and misused on occasion, the notion of sharing information freely and conversing with like-minded people throughout the world is surely what the Internet was designed for.
But how do hub pages fit in to all this? Well a hub can a pooled resource, bring in and sending out links to other sites of interest across the Internet. They are, in effect, your own hybrid website – complete with social interaction and sharing.
For many companies, not least traditional media and the printed press, the idea of a hub revolution could be seen as a major challenge. They do, after all, represent the embodiment of the free exchange of news. And, unlike most other sources, you don’t have to go hunting for it; information is delivered to you.
Because hubs are, or will become, a vital news source for some – think of the Google Reader as a good example of a potential for expansion – users can be far more selective about what exactly it is they choose to follow. From the latest updates on a favourite sports team to a single source who provide content that you regularly follow.
The Internet offers a myriad of news sources and communication devices. RSS feeders, Twitter trends and websites all channel data to a wider community, helping spread news almost instantaneously. With developments such as Google’s PubSubHubbub, real-time could soon be coming to the world of hubs.
Whilst the strength of an authoritative website will prevail over the temporary traffic provided by social portals such as hubs and social media sites; the Internet is evolving and will continue to do so, and as such, nothing can be taken for granted. Will personal and business hubs become the core of future online usage? That’s still very much up for debate.