Archive for the ‘Intelligent Web’ Category

Why ‘Friending’ Will Be Obsolete


Every few days, (or hours) you probably get a friend request of some sort, the good news is, someday, this will not be relevant.

I just got finished watching this video of Renato of “E”, a device and software platform that allows you to phsyically gesture in the real world with people you meet that you are friends. Remember palm pilot back in 2001 that let you ‘beam’ contact info to each other? Similiar to that, but now with more ‘social’ context.

Thinking forward a few years, “friending people” whether in Facebook, Plaxo, or will no longer be an activity that we’ll have to do. Intelligent websites (and their data) will be able to determine who our friends are from our behaviors, context, and preferences, without us verbally (or physically) having to indicate so.

Those ‘bacn’ messages make it painfully obvious that the ‘system’ (the web, data, and beyond) isn’t quite intelligent, as it can’t determine who our own social contacts are yet.

Like a baby, we’re teaching the ‘system’ our language, how to walk, how to coexist in our real flesh and blood world, the ‘system’ is just starting to show intelligence. One primary example of this is the use of hashtags in Twitter. We use the # sign to tag content so it’s easily to organize and find. That one # character isn’t native to our tongue (unless when you recite your grocery list and say “hashtag”) it’s another example of us speaking machine language in order to teach the system.

For example, I started a social experiment on Sunday, where I encouraged folks to tweet related music artists using the tag “#relatedmusic” you can see the database form when you search for that term –If we had enough people do this in my –and your– network we’d be able to build a reference engine that other music reccomendations services could pull from.

Saturday, I posted my thoughts about what’s next after the social web, and some interesting comments are coming in, take the time to read about it. For now, I’m tagging these posts the ‘Intelligent Web” as I don’t really think we’re there yet, we’re having to input too much to teach the machine right now.

If you can’t see where this is headed, I’ll tell you: all of what we’re doing from our clicks, queries, wall posts and tweets is teaching the ‘system’. In the long run we’re creating a massive global computer, an artificial intelligence, and someday, a thinking being.

Therefore, when the ‘system’ is more mature, we won’t have to explicitly state who we’re friends with anyone –it’ll have learned and already know.

Phrases to know:
I’ll refine these over time, but for now, here’s some early stakes in the ground.

The System: The system is the combination of all websites combined, it’s a massive data base of content, clicks, search terms, time on site, shared posts, wall posts, links, and tweets.

Teaching the System: Humans are constantly speaking in machine language, from use of hashtags in twitter, or boolean searches in Google, or even from the act of friending folks in your social network. All of these behaviors are humans teaching the system how to understand us, so it can better serve us.

The Intelligent Web: Software that is able to collect and make sense of all the data in the system and is able to deliver meaningful content back to people in context –often without us saying or gesturing that we need it.

Update: This has spun off to more discussions in Friendfeed, I think a lot of folks missed the big idea I was trying to convey here –or perhaps more likely, I didn’t communicate it well.

What’s after the Social Web?


I’m sitting in Union Square SF on a Saturday night at Starbucks getting some additional analysis completed on the Wave report, which should be publishing in a few weeks. I can’t but help think about some trends that I’ve been hearing from multiple people.

On Friday, I had a meeting with an SVP of Yahoo, to learn about some of the redesign coming to the homepage. What’s interesting is the focus is on apps, not the incredible large social graph that they’ve been building for 10 years. They know that not everyone is going to be a social participant (our technographic data indicates this also –although participation continues to increase) and everyone won’t participate on every website.

Right after lunch I talked with Scoble, who reminded me about the looming recession. we both agreed that this will shed off non-unique startups and force innovation, and likely higher CTRs for new types of marketing and advertising.

After lunch, I stopped by University Cafe in Palo Alto for an impromptu meeting, if you sit on the sidewalk table like I did, you’re almost guaranteed to see someone from the social media or tech space walk by. Facebook is just a few blocks away and many VCs, entrepreneurs take in business meetings here. Chris Saad (pic) of the data portability group came by, and he explained in depth his vision of the personal web –how content will be delivered based on historical, relevance, and not social data.

Chris showed me the upcoming Web 3.0 conference, which I tweeted “Did Web 2.0 jump the shark?” Minutes later I received a private message from Tim O’Reilly himself, we got on the phone and he explained his intentions of the term (most of us aren’t using it in the way he first envisioned) and loosely, his vision is that the behavior of networks will populate databases in which organizations can retrieve the data and deliver content –social activity isn’t always implied.

So that’s four conversations (in one day) that were outside of my usual ‘social’ discussions I have with clients, entrepreneurs, press, and VCs. I’ve heard and read a lot of folks explain what they think is coming (I’m avoiding saying the “S” word), but I’m not going to accept that as fact, I’m going to continue to explore, talk to folks, interview people to understand what this trend entails.

What’s interesting is that most of my clients (large corporations) haven’t figured out how to fully embrace the social web –let alone think about what’s next. The only caveat being here is that the social web won’t go away, but will integrate, and soon a new type of technology will emerge to provide greater relevancy to content, people, activities and ideas.

When I first started this blog, I titled it the “Web Strategy Blog” not the “Social Media blog” as I know there will always be new technologies and new trends, there’s something else coming beyond the social web. As I learn more, I’ll continue to report back to you all, stay tuned.