Conversations are what make the social web work.
For me personally. For communities. For businesses.
There are large gaps between the conversational dynamics of Disqus-powered and WordPress blogs, posts on Facebook, comments on G+, remarks on FourSquare, Tweets on Twitter.
Each of them is useful. Though on their own no one is enough.
I’m increasingly isolated in these conversational silos. I’m stymied by the need to manually connect conversations between communities. It’s counterproductive and usually the true value of the social data is lost.
Links may be the universal currency of the web but they are more like monopoly money, less like value to me. I care what you think about something you share as much as what gets shared. Most of what we share is without useful context cross networks.
The handful of communities that have dynamic conversations are still uniquely separated from each other. We all spend hours following links, book marking them and bouncing around from referral to referral.
I so want the process of discovery to be fun. I’m fine with working hard at it but it feels random and primitive and somewhat arbitrary.
A few years ago, I wrote a blog post on the community potential of Disqus. How it could change how we find and interact with information and people. I was (and still am) inspired by this grand idea although less patient than I was then.
Disqus held the keys to the conversational kingdom with the data for some 1M blogs, 10s of millions of power commenter’s and innumerable comments across the web.
Disqus put granularity and detail on a dream world where each URL is its own community connected by threads to others. Some known, some in the process of being discovered.
Underneath this ecosystem of Disqus data lies an implicit future where a universe of suggestions could be fed to me just by understanding my interest footprint.
The more I express myself, the more I find what I want without asking.
Disqus may or may not be working on this. I don’t know. But regardless, Disqus alone is not comprehensive enough on its own.
Each of us has networks on other commenting systems and a multiplicity of social nets. These communities aren’t merging any time soon. Centralization needs to happen between communities, not within any one of them.
I’m dreaming hard for a conversational-based reality online.
I want to parse my world by conversations by topic by trusted connections daily.
I want a dashboard that lets me search:
-By topics by blog communities ranked by dynamics and engagement.
If I start the day on avc.com, for example, in a sub-string on Apple Airplay, I want to find out where there are dynamic conversations happening across the web on Airplay and connected TV.
-By trusted friends who are subject matter experts.
Something breaks around certification of organic wineries in Europe and percent of sulfites allowed for exported wines. Where is ‘the Crazy French lady’ commenting? Where are my wine expert friends from London and Portugal commenting? Where can I see this at a glance?
Google is useless for this. So is Disqus. Facebook is actually the best.
-By implicit generated interest graphs.
Look at any of your last 100 comments and a pattern of interests will arise. For me it will be on community, marketing, wine, travel.
Where is my daily leader board of what’s interesting for me without explicitly searching for it? Where is my recommended interest report?
Where is my listing of dynamically generated wine tastings that I would like in NYC this week with friends already signed up to attend? Or in London or Paris when I’m traveling.
I probably get 60% of the above in a couple of hours work each day.
The data is there. It’s just disparate, not mashed together in a human consumable form that is palatable for me. Or anyone.
Many companies are trying to solve this.
The launch of my friend William Mougayar (@wmougayar) Engagio alpha this morning is a great example. They are very early but they get the discovery/aggregation piece well. The code to get in the alpha of Engagio is engagearnold.
I want broad access to a human web interlaced by conversations connected by implicit suggestions.
So do many others I believe. Understanding social data is the Lingua Franca of the future. It needs to be understood between networks, not within any one of them.
The large social networks need to open their data to developers to build this in a multiplicity of shapes. For each of our needs. The networks don’t own the people but they do own the data. They need to learn to share more through their APIs.
Social data sharing will be better for me, better for everyone and equally, better for the networks themselves.
When I’m the center of the world, not the networks, I’m glad to participate in the ones that matter. I’m centered and flexible and easy.
When the networks are the center of the world and I’m a club member, I’m always looking for another club that will do what five of the others are trying to. I’m a migratory social animal always on the move and ready to jump. No allegiance at all.
Ok. Fun rant. Feeling better already.