31 March 2008

Beyond blogs: the conversation has moved into the flow

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Stowe Boyd
Stowe Boyd, an internationally recognised authority on social applications and their impact on business, media, and society, published today an interesting reflection on the fact that conversation online has moved away from the blogs that once seemed the nexus:

“Basically, conversation is moving from a very static and slow form of conversation — the comments thread on blog posts — to a more dynamic and fast form of conversation: into the flow in Twitter, Friendfeed, and others. I think this directionality may be like a law of the universe: conversation moves to where is is most social.

Personally, I don’t think the genie can be put back in the bottle. Twitter et al are simply more compelling a conversational medium than blog comments. While the close relationship of blog posts and their associated comments may seem like a positive attribute, it is actually very limiting and closed. In general, people have to blunder into an interesting comment thread by moving to the post, opening the link to the comments, and manually scrolling down through them. A lot of time and effort, all based around the metaphor of wandering around in the web of pages. It’s like a trip to the library.

Twitter and other similar apps are based on the web of flow: information of interest comes to us, not the other way around. And it flows through people, through relationships: it’s not a bunch of clicks on URLs, scrolling, and so on. It’s a move away from hunting and gathering and into relationship agriculture: information grows in our flow applications instead of us spending time hunting it down.” […]

Today’s blog technologies were not designed with flow in mind: they are based on Web 1.0 principles, and although they have helped to engender a revolution in sociality and flow, they don’t support it very well.

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Jason Kaneshiro posted a similar reflection recently.

(via Bruce Sterling)

But — just perhaps — the situation is not so clear-cut: BBC News launched a new home page today and the announcement article already has 533 comments, that is five hundred and thirty three (and it’s still increasing).

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