Creating Outside Silos for the Easy Movement of Ideas

[Tim Berners-Lee: the Year open data went worldwide]

Once you have the ability to connect with anyone and anything in the world, you can hardly go back to not wanting to have that option.

As I wrote a little over a year ago, the introduction of Google+ has brought renewed interest in two kinds of conversations:

  1. grouping people
  2. filtering content

Relationship focus

The first one helps you classify relationships for the purposes of scaling context-based communications.

The new social network was a breath a fresh air for many who, like
me, had spent several years in other networks, meeting the same people
everywhere. I chuckle every time I receive an invitation to connect on
LinkedIn from people with whom I talk on Twitter or on the blog's Facebook page.

Do we really need to be grouped everywhere, or would be better off getting to know each other and connect on that basis?

The reason why my settings vary depending on the network is that I
use them differently. If we haven't met in person and established a
business or professional baseline, how could I ever connect you with one
of my contacts on LinkedIn, for example?

[Note: When inviting people to link, it's also helpful to orient them as to why. Using the canned line provided in the form provides too little context.]

Topical focus

The second takes care of topical focus.

I think we
can all agree that there is plenty of information online. The problem
has become finding what we need, when we need it. Serendipity should be part of the mix here, especially since we don't know what we don't know.

Discovery is also a big part of the TV and video viewing experience, by the way. Imagine this: you get home after a long day of work, and start surfing channels in search of the show perfect for you at that moment in time. You may even look at what some friends are talking about on social networks for inspiration.

How do you find that one relevant article, video, podcast, show, etc.?

My imperfect answer for the content discovery online is to publish in different forms, keeping this blog as my base, and
syndicating feeds from other publishers for discussion in social networks. I don't always agree with everything I share, although I find it stimulating enough to pay attention to it.

I find it easier to classify content than I do people. Many of the lists I created on Twitter, for example, are based more upon the content people and brands share than on business titles.

Creating outside silos

In an open thread started by Dave Winer, who is considered by many (that includes me) the inventor of the blog, Doc Searls annotates:

Outlining is driving.

It gives us a way to asserting our agency in the world.

In today's online world we are being acted upon far too much and acting independently — with full agency — far too little.

We need new and better tools that operate outside the old box. We need ultimate driving machines.

I like the driving analogy. Searls expands on it with a post — Browsers should have been cars. Instead they're shopping carts:

They’re shopping carts that shape-shift with every site we visit. They are optimized for being inside websites, not for driving outside them, or between them. In fact, we can hardly imagine the Net or the Web as a space that’s larger than the sites in it.

I've written about how we should thinking about the way people access information and buy good and corresponding implications. 

There’s a collection of Zen koans called the Gateless Gate. Among other
things, koans transcend dualism. The traditional sales process is fully
dualistic — there’s a buyer, and there’s a seller.

We are witnessing the
dissolution of the traditional sales role, as recommendation commerce
evolves and storefronts become wherever you happen to be, doing
whatever you are doing. Which brings us to the Storeless Store and
Saleless Sale.

We're there conceptually. We imagine these kinds of scenarios as individuals and even there the capacity for holding diverging opinions and still participate respectfully is unevenly distributed.

These threads and discussions started a couple of decades ago. The technology is not there, yet. Probably because we build in the same ways we organize and we're still figuring out how to organize for distributed collaboration even as complex systems require some kind of hierarchical maps.

We can do personalization and are off to a good start with APIs. Yet a truly personal digital experience, GEO-IP for example, as mentioned in the comments, is still out of reach. 

In the words of Tim Berners-Lee: we are now just started.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
speaking engagement click here.

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