Predictions are all over the web right now. I *could* follow that trend, but I won’t. Instead, I’m going to tell you about my NEEDS for 2008, and hope that they thread well with where the Internet is going. I’m going to bet that lots of you have similar needs, and insofar as you’re smart, and know smart people, if we surface our needs, perhaps we’ll find our solutions faster.
Social Network Hubs
Marc references these here, and I agree. I want something that lets me hub my social networks together. I want to thread Twitter, Utterz, and Seesmic together. I want to have everything in a nice hub that lets me see the threads better. I need it. I can’t just traipse all over the Internet trying to follow conversations. Too much work, and not enough reward. I think apps like MyBlogLog and Lijit are close, but we need more.
I want set-once, use-often rules for bacn. There are now transactions that I have to do over and over again that I want to be one-touch. Here are a few examples:
- Receive email (bacn) from Twitter that CoolDude is now following me.
- I check out CoolDude, determine if he’s a linkbot, a friend-adder, or someone who seems legit.
- I check that CoolDude twitters primarily in English (as I can’t do much with other languages).
- I follow CoolDude back if he follows those rules.
Time per transaction: 25 seconds, give or take the speed of my connection. Fine, if you get 2 or 3 followers a day. Not fine if you get more than that.
Other bacn “actions” I want to turn into one-click: friend adds on Facebook, friend adds on Flickr, and now that I think about it, social network “adds” everywhere.
Data Tools for Humans
We’re in an age where people are flinging REAMS of information at us. I follow about 120 blogs fairly closely. Robert Scoble reads over 800. With the Google Reader friends concept and shared items, I cover an even larger spread of info. Well, there are two ways to get at that data. One is to read it all linearly, which means I’ll skim and scrape and deep-dive and forward and clip, but at a frenetic pace, to keep up with my personal subset of everything going on out there.
This can be done MUCH simpler using business intelligence tools that are normally in the hands of enterprises. For all I know, I might be able to do some of this in Yahoo! Pipes. But even that’s a lot of work for the average Joe. I’ve got a feeling that Dave Winer would know a few more ways to do this, too. I look at his Club140 project and realize that what he’s doing with RSS outputs, mashing them for his own interests, was a great way to point out to people like me that we don’t have to read this info in a big glut. We can parse in lots of ways, figure out what matters to us, and filter the information we’re receiving. (Look for a related post on this soon by Clarence and me.)
We need data tools. Human ones. Ones that we can poke a few times and get what we need out of the flood.
Clouds for the Commons
In 1995, Bill Gates wrote in The Road Ahead that we’d start using software applications that blurred our perception of what was on our desktop and what was on the web. He was right in lots of ways, just really early.
Changes like the announcement of Mozilla’s Weave signal that we’re getting further away from the notion of a desktop (or even laptop) PC. I’m mobile. I use whatever browser I’m near. And even that’s starting to break down a little. I use mobile apps on my BlackBerry Curve all the time, meaning that it’s not the endpoint that matters to me. It’s the information.
Clouds for the commons means that services like Amazon’s S3 and EC2 and SimpleDB are just the beginning of what we all need. More of our services need to be more persistently managed through the Internet, with display variety for which endpoint we’re using. I’m using Gmail for my email, which plays great on a laptop and a cell phone. I’m looking for more of these apps to work fluidly between devices. I need it, as I’m more nomadic in my business practices than ever before.
It’s close, but I hope to see more announcements in 2008 to round it all out.
Flexible Media Purchases
I’m writing this in a bookstore. Behind my laptop are some books I’m browsing. In ALL cases, I want to buy the books, but I’d really buy them if I could get a three-media-types bundle purchase. I want to buy the paper book, an ebook, and an audiobook, for an extended price that’s more than a hardcover but less than the three piece parts. Makes sense, riht? I want to read the book when I’m on the beach. I want to browse the ebook to do finds and searches on parts I want to remember. I want the audiobook for the car.
And not just book media. I want to buy the DVD for a movie as I’m leaving the theater. And that DVD should come with a discount on a larger release of features later down the road. (You know who did this well? The team who did Virtual Hot Wings). Why lock me into watching the movie and then waiting a fake few months for the DVD? Will this chew on movie theater sales as some have predicted? Not sure, but would the bump you could charge for a movie-and-a-DVD make economic sense? Hell, add in the Soundtrack/score while you’re at it.
“Need” Might Be Strong
But as we’re sinking in more and more data, I want the Internet to work for me. Slaves to machines? I don’t know about you, but I’m more of a slave every day, and I need tools. I need tools that will shape information the way I need it. I need ways to better manage these new flows such that I can be even more helpful. And I don’t see why I can’t have them.
How about you? What are your needs? What are your tools of choice? How are you managing this now, or are you?
The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.
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