Living in a Networked World: Redux

In Living in a Networked World: is Less More? I suggested that we’re seeing a dramatic and unique shift in software: to social software that is much more valuable than the siloed applications we were used to. In this dramatic shift, Less is More becomes a well-deserved battle cry, but it is more a result […]

In Living in a Networked World: is Less More? I suggested that we’re seeing a dramatic and unique shift in software: to social software that is much more valuable than the siloed applications we were used to. In this dramatic shift, Less is More becomes a well-deserved battle cry, but it is more a result of a refocus on Social Software than a real desire for having Less. Human beings rarely want Less, even in this Attention Age. Instead, we chant the infamous words of Billy Idol: “We want More, More, More”.

More of what we want, Less of what we don’t. And in this networked world, we’re getting More:

  • Activity-based Tools
    How you interact with others is more important than what you can do by yourself. Tools become social, and tool makers focus on what you can do with others, not what the tool can do by itself.
  • Sharable Content
    Apps without sharable content and URLs will become islands. Permalinks for everything.
  • Representations of Identity
    As we’re seeing with MySpace and Facebook, we are increasingly thrusting our identity online. To get a clear look at the future, look toward the younger people online. They’re comfortable with online identity. It’s simply another facet of their social lives.
  • Value from Aggregate Behavior
    As we’re seeing with recommendation systems like Netflix, Last.fm, and Pandora, aggregating behavior is really the only way to sift through the clutter to find what’s useful. Pre-aggregate organization has only temporary value, and is too often reflective of other people’s tastes than our own.

This is a tiny start. But it is clear that we are beginning to directly map activities in software. Hence the increasing use of words like “subscribe”, “share”, “participate”, “meet”, “collaborate”, “invite”, “recommend” and other social terms scattered throughout these new applications.

BusinessWeek calls the people who are already participating the MySpace Generation. Their lives are a fluid interoperability of technology and society. The distinction between the two is becoming less clear every day.

Published: December 6th, 2005

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