PermaLink What happens when we all just get sick of each other?04/06/2008 10:07 PM
We're still in a sort of halcyon time with Web 2.0, sort of like the early days of wireless phones and email, where the novelty of knowing exactly what all your friends are doing is new and shiny.

Well, what happens when that novelty wears off?  What do we do then?

Every half hour or so, at irregular intervals mostly during waking hours, my Blackberry rumbles at me. Usually, that means that someone has posted a new tweet and the Berry is telling me about it. About fifty people follow me, and I follow about fifty people, not all the same fifty. I know when they eat, when they drink, when they run into trees, embark and disembark on long journeys, when they're in stupid meetings and when they're meeting up with other friends.

What is going to happen to the whole always-on, always-connected world when people just wake up one day and realize hey, I don't really give a fuck what anyone else is doing and its cousin, I want people to leave me alone for a while?!? Will Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn and other social sites collapse into irrelevant dust? Will we go back to paper letters? Will we all become hermits?

I think about the old days when I had a numeric-only pager at work. It was horrendous for me, because it was so devoid of information. A frickin' number. A number I already know! Who cares? I learned to ignore it if I figured that I didn't really need to be found at that moment. Eventually, I learned to let the batteries run down, and one time I actually accidentally drove over it.

The Berry and the Web 2.0 stuff it brings seems different, in that they bring a ton more information. Email conveys not only that someone needs to reach me, it tells me something about what they want, which means I can start dealing with it before I even respond. Distributed social software is the same... I don't have to invest in writing an email to ask people what they've been up to since the last time, since I (and all their other followers) already know, hour by hour. But it still demands some filtering skills... who do you really not need to know about at that exact moment? The neophytes read every tweet the instant it comes in. The pros know that most of them can wait till... whenever. They retain some control.

If people don't develop the filtering skills they'll need, they will rapidly start getting sick of Web 2.0 and its information flood. If you're putting these tools to work in a business environment, like the Lotus awareness tools and the like, you had better plan on setting up guidelines for people at all levels to let them know it's OK to ignore social software intrusions sometimes, just as they used to learn to ignore the phone. And you had better be preparing executives and customers for the idea that no, people cannot be at instant availability every moment of every day.

If you don't, people will start "accidentally" driving over their Blackberries.

Or, maybe throwing up on them.

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2. Don McNally04/10/2008 11:47:14 AM
Homepage: http://dmcnally.blogspot.com


Just saw this { Link } which then leads to this { Link } . Filtering is going to become critically important as we go on.




3. Don McNally04/07/2008 09:12:02 AM
Homepage: http://dmcnally.blogspot.com


My own interest in these things goes up and down. It is interesting to read through Twitter but I can't get in on the conversation during the day and the "meme" has often passed by the time I read the posts. And I get no particular satisfaction from throwing something out there that no one replies to (not that I want replies to everything I tweet).

It's all an experiment. But I think you're right that at some point people are going to want additional filters (like "send this to me now if it contains something like 'this'; if not, I'll look at it later").




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