Monday, May 25, 2009
Getting Lost in Web 4.0
It seems like so much of the content of social media is discussing social media itself. As more user sign up, do they expand the discussion or just add to it, creating a topic black hole barely able to keep from collapsing on itself? So much of social media is talking about what the topics are rather than discussion the actual topics. (And I just realized I'm adding another meta layer to the pile.) It's hard enough to find meaningful conversations in all the twitter noise without adding these extra layers of non-meaning. When I do find nuggets of interestingness, I often see them 2, 3, or 4 times, and each iteration has its own disconnected discussion hanging along with it. So many of the social media tools allow for easy replication between them that I'll often see a post on twitter get repeated a minute later on twitter because a user has their twitter feed replicated to their tumblr, then the tumblr sends new post notifications out on twitter. Then it all starts to explode when you get on friendfeed because it collects ALL that users activity on one feed so you can really see how broad a single post can get very quickly. Friendfeed is useful for the discussions that collect around interesting posts, but because there is too much duplication, the discussions get fragmented. This is in addition to the separate discussion may be going on at the post's original blog page. There are tools emerging to bring some unity to the fragmented discussions, but it is too early to tell which one will develop into a tool powerful enough to make it simple. RIght now they are too varied and opaque. I keep stumbling with these tools because it's difficult to see their functional landscape. For example, I made a comment on a blog post and on a FF post linking to the blog post not knowing that the blog was publishing comments from FF, so I double-posted inadvertently. As new tools and networks are being introduced every day it seems, finding and learning many of them is a huge task that not many employed people can handle. I feel like I have to spend some time with them if you want to find the value in them. Otherwise it's like I can only know it on a cursory level. Twitter looks a lot different once you have built your following and honed your friend list, and I am far from a power user. Eventually some winners will emerge and there will be some unity in the space, but for now its a real jungle.