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2 way conversations

Imagine this .. You are surfing the web, then your browser says to you, “Hey Ian, you might like to look at this website”, or “Other people have been talking about this site, would you like me to take you there?”.

Often we go to websites because of recommendations from friends, and increasingly sites like Del.icio.us are allowing us to review and visit webpages under various classifications called tags. The beauty of this is that you can find a websites that other people have tagged with the same classification. This allows you to receive suggestions of topics, or articles that match your interest.

Most of you would have started to see the small orange RSS button starting to appear on many websites. RSS (really simple syndication) helps people stay in touch with a lot more websites as they are notified when a new entry is made without having to surf to every website.

Technologies that allow users to rate and comment on websites are also starting to appear. Shadows is an example, and it allows users to comment and rate webpages, thereby helping them to tap into other peoples opinions .. hence the word conversation.

Taking this one step further is the new browser application called Flock. I spent some time reviewing Flock last night, and believe it is a great example of how the web is moving from a library of pages, into a true conversation. Here’s a summary of Flock’s main features.

So .. what is the web saying to you, and what are you saying back?

Consumer Generated Multi-media

Just how good is the consumer generated animations and films?

Well if Zed is anything to go on, they are getting very very good. With categories such as animation, music, read (stories) etc they really have a full spectrum of consumer generated media.

As an example, check out the Lonely Barber. A brilliant animation about a barber with no customers.

There is no doubt that people want choice, and the internet and devices such as the video IPOD are allowing consumers to “time-shift” when they watch a particular piece of media.

A future where you can design your own media studio containing just the things your want to watch, is not too far away !

Tagging

During my days as the Knowledge Manager for Mars, we had endless debates about the taxonomies that should be used to catergorise the intranet.

Whilst the categories that were implemented may have been the best we could think of based on how the corporation was organised at the time (1996), it wasn’t long before new categories were needed. As you can imagine, getting people to publish things to the intranet was hard enough, so getting them to fill out large categorisation indexes was next to impossible with the exception of a few die hard Research and Development people whose culture was very much research orientated.

Automatic tagging is now possible. Sites such as Tagcloud, can automatically suggest suitable tags based on the text within a webpage. I created one of these for Frontiering Talk .. see the bottom of this page for results, which are recalculated daily.

I really like the idea that the audience should decide what Tags (or categories) a document should be placed under. It is therefore possible for multiple tags to be given to a single document .. from the consumer’s (reader’s) perspective. Many sites are using this technique to assist with accurate tagging. Examples are Flickr, Technorati, and Shadows.