Monday, 6 December 2010

Four key Concepts in web 3.0 - Braided content

There's been a longer gap between this and the last Web 3.0 post than I would have liked. So to remind me where I was, let me recap the previous posts. The aim of this series is to try and define what the web will look like in its next incarnation. Web 1.0 allowed publishing and access to information on an unprecedented scale. Web 2.0 changed the relationship between author and reader and moved the balance of power from entities to the individual and from large to small.

So far I've suggested two elements that I believe will underwrite the next generation of web experience. Semantic content management will give richer and more useful streams - the critical point here is that content definition will no longer be a limiting factor in how our interests are aggregated. We will move from 'defining the boxes in which content is kept' to 'defining content based on its meaning and context'.

Seamlessness will allow us to move from device to device according to our preferences, location and needs. It will allow us to interact with the web in a linear way.

The next theme of the four that I'm writing about is braided content. This one is actually the least speculative, as it's possible to see the birth of braided content all over the place. By braiding I mean the intertwining of different types of content in one place, bringing together that which has traditionally been separated by source and platform.

The current need to go to one place for email, another for news content and a third for social media (and a fourth for social media, and a fifth for social media...repeat ad infinitum or at least ad nauseum) is clearly bonkers. in the first instance it's massively unfriendly to the user. The second is that it puts the less used at a grave risk of being ignored altogether and  inevitably makes for a poorer experience.

It also makes it hugely difficult to establish the genuinely new.  Any experienced web hand will tell you that a solution that takes a user outside their normal workflow starts with a massive disadvantage. The success of Facebook, Twitter etc has been driven their ability to get users to add new platforms to everyday usage.

Users need a world where the different strands are woven together in one place, according to rules and preferences set by that user. All content should will be braided together in a single flow - with semantic rules and seamlessness applied - that renders the need to change platform a thing of the past. What appears in that flow and when is down to personalisation and the subject of my next post in the series.

Over the last few weeks we've seen many of the big players take huge steps in this direction: Facebook has announced Messages which is "kind of like email in social media but kind of not.." (OK this is a bad parody of the Zuck's announcement but not so far off the meaning!). LinkedIn gets more and more sophisticated about what appears on their screens and are doing some really interesting things around jobs and company news. Even new names are getting into the act: Rockmelt are claiming "Your browser. Re-imagined" amongst a hoard of similar propositions.

We do seem to be very close to a browser that will pull in web, mobile, email, and various flavours of social media in one place. It's unlikely that this tool won't pull in TV, radio and music (if indeed they exist in any sense that's separate enough to make the distinction valid). BT have already worked on systems that can combine IP delivered content with TV channel content (including pulling advertising from both sources - TV quality ads with net quality response mechanisms anyone?).

The final battle looms. The battle ground will be the device through which we perceive the (digital) world. The winner will probably come from one of the current big names (these certainly now include Facebook). The prize will be greater than any since Bill Gates decided to strongarm the professional office market. The result will be fully braided content. everything in one place.

"One thing to rule them all, One thing to find them,One thing to bring them all and in the darkness bind them"

OK so that was getting a little carried away. But only a little.

No comments:

Post a Comment