« Removed from isolation | Main | Done writing and re-writing »

This is all well and good, but...

...it seems a little clumsy, inefficient, and challenging. What I mean by this is mainly the outlets from which users have to work with. Building social networks using the various software tools available is great, IF they can find others. It all seems too decentralized to me. The following will explain this further.

Connect! Chapter 6 is chocked full of websites and tool sets for communicating. This is all great and wonderful, but the problem comes down to... which one(s) to use? Most people can’t possibly use all of them all of the time, nor do most people even know about most of them. They typically hear about the popular ones and those are the ones that get used, for better or worse. But are so many different systems really necessary? Could a system be made that integrates ALL of the communication outlets available? Could this be accomplished without the constraints of Intellectual Property Rights? It would be my desire to say yes as that would make truly global communication a reality.

So, how could something of this magnitude come about? Wikinomics makes reference to various companies (namely Google and Amazon) that reward and integrate new and interesting systems into their own. This would be a key developmental concept to keep in mind. My view is that there are too many windows, screens, and general clutter on the computer desktop to effectively maintain solid social networks while trying to get work done.

Currently, I have 3 windows, 6 gadgets and about a dozen or so web tabs open. Each of these is necessary to be connected to the social networks for class and for getting assignments done for my other courses. Half the time I lose windows in the clutter or close something that needed to remain open.

I do have ideas floating around my head, but they would require people who actually knew what they were doing to implement. First would be to integrate all of the social ports into a single system. One name links all of your info within a secure network. It would run from the desktop background rather than a browser window so that it would simply feel like the desktop of the computer. All of your friends, contacts, coworkers, etc would be simple moveable tabs with rollover capabilities under multiple programmable categories. Further, messages could be instant, emailesque, or urgent depending on the length, status of the recipient, schedule status, etc. One key component would be to make it feel like an organic user interface. Moveable, selectable, scrollable, fluid, possibly even 3D. It would use a p2p system so that no one server system would have to be bogged down at any given time. Automatically connected unless otherwise specified and fully integrated into the desktop itself.

Now this was just my brain hiccup in writing, but I think it’s important to write things as they come to you and even better to share them with your peers. I just think social networks are simply being bogged down by the decentralized systems through browser based programs. I understand that browser based programs are portable across platforms, but with the advent of IBM hardware in Apple machines, I think that the days where incompatibility completely inhibits cross platform networks, are coming to an end.

1. Tapscott and Williams. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Portfolio Hardcover, 2006. Pg. 183-212.
2. Zelenka and Sohn. Connect!: Web Worker Daily’s Guide to a New Way of Working. Wiley, 2008. Pg. 141-171.

As a side blurb, it would also be neat to have translation software integrated. Where a person in the USA could type something to someone in Japan and it would translate "instantly". Just an idea...

Comments

David, I agree with your post. With all of the different tools for communicating on the web how do you possibly know which to use? People tend to only know about the ones that are most popular. I think that it would be greatly beneficial to create a system that integrates all of the communication outlets. That would eliminate much of the clutter currently on the web.

Good stuff, David. On the disconnectedness of all your connections, I know exactly what you mean. I find (from both sides of the equation) that just telling someone about a new or better site/tool/etc. is a good way to move them to it. If you actually teach them about it and they adopt it, you've probably got yourself a true ally. In my experience, you can gather your own best connections to one or two places that way, making the whole thing that much more manageable.

I'm a big fan of the grand integration idea, too. OpenID (referenced in Zelenka, p.10) seems to be one step in that conceptual direction, and aggregators like Trillian for IM or Google Reader for RSS work beautifully within their niches. While I admit to being a big science fiction fan, a unified personal digital identity honestly looks to me like an inevitability, so the interesting (or maybe scary) questions then become when, how manifested, and who controls the data from the back end. Only time will tell, but at least we're putting ourselves in much better position to participate in that advancement by what we're doing here.

Multilingual chat translator: GoogleTalk + Google Language Tools? I have no doubt someone could mash that up tomorrow.

Hi David! First of all, I want to say nice chatting with you on Thursday! Regarding your thoughts that you conveyed in your blog, I think we might share the same thoughts. You pinned it down with your second paragraph, "Connect! Chapter 6 is chocked full of websites and tool sets for communicating. This is all great and wonderful, but the problem comes down to... which one(s) to use? Most people can’t possibly use all of them all of the time, nor do most people even know about most of them. They typically hear about the popular ones and those are the ones that get used, for better or worse. But are so many different systems really necessary? . . . " For me, before creating a Facebook page, I had a MySpace page. I hardly ever went on it, and I pretty much had it because of my friends requesting me to have it. I hardly would log on though mainly because of my busy life. Now that I have Facebook (and MySpace), it seems kind of--what's the word I'm looking for--redundant maybe? I'm already busy as it is and now that I've added another type of application, I seriously seem busier and busier and it seems harder to find time. I'm not quite sure how to explain it or explain myself. Anyways, I totally hear you when you say there's so many applications to choose from. It would be so nice to have one. On the other hand, having a choice is nice sometimes (think of Monopolies and how they are discouraged). I'd have to think more about it. It's getting late, so I'm not sure if I could think anymore :) Nevertheless, I will continue thinking about what you wrote and what others have written.