Jul 27 2007
We live in an interconnected world where machines log on to other machines to do work on our behalf. That’s what del.icio.us now does every night: it gathers up all the tagging I did during the previous day and posts it on this blog. It’s part of a mashed-up, service-oriented world. I’m writing this posting using ScribeFire, another mashup, which also posts to the blog on my behalf.
Some of my discomfort with IntroNetworks: it seems like more of “an application” than “a service” (in the mashup sense of the term). I’m really enthusiastic about IntroNetworks, and really impressed with what Chuck Steinfield did with it. It’s accurate, in uncanny ways, but it feels so separate. That separateness is probably both the result of technical limits and the culture around conferences the company serves. It certainly is a world where there is no profile standard that everyone adheres to and everyone would rather keep their profile information private, isn’t it?
The morning I left for the airport, after the Communities and Technologies conference, I bumped into a grad student in the lobby, who was waiting for a taxi to take her to the bus stop. We decided to run for it instead and struck up quite the conversation as she struggled with two bags, one with a handle that was way too short, and with one shoe strap that kept falling off. Afterwards, I found that she was “standing right beside me” in the IntroNeworks “me display.” Too late for an intro, but useful for a follow-up, better than the business card she’d given me. We got to the bus just in time and she sat a row behind me on the other side of the aisle (the bus had wifi!) and we looked each other up. “Oh, that’s you.”
A few days later, Jerry Michalski’s Yi-tan call about “exhaust data” and Facebook turned up an interesting connection. Grant McCracken observed that Facebook does a pretty good job of keeping a connection going after it’s been established, say, at a conference. He wrote about it later. Facebook certainly does a good job of drawing you back in and creating a sense of social activity — of life on the net. Someone on that Yi-tan call said something like “every venture capitalist these days will ask you what kind of a Facebook application strategy you have.” Facebook’s very openness is compelling. Online, there is no meaningful distinction between “business” and “social” And it’s certainly persistent.
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