One of the things that has fascinated me, but somewhat left me behind with this whole tech thing has been the way technologies to improve communication have been so successful.
When email started, that was really cool, a massive shift in communication ability. Then text messaging, which somewhat perversely, benefited by having restrictive size limits. Then instant messaging, and finally, when I couldnt imagine anything else, things like facebook.
Now, if we look at these technologies, we can see that the major commonality between them is that they reduced barriers to communication. Email is obvious, but the others less so. Texting did, obviously because of the mobile phone medium, but I believe it also benefited by reducing the mental cost of communicating. You couldnt think that much about it, because u only have 160 characters. So u can’t compose a novel, and you know that. So you don’t think so hard about sending it. The overall cost is lower.
Now, at this point, I didn’t really imagine much improvement, instant messaging, text, and email all seemed to have fairly low costs. But then came facebook et al. The really interesting thing about facebook is it makes it incredibly trivially easy (and extremely low cost) to communicate with people. You just leave a note on the wall, it doesnt even feel like a personal message, just a ‘hey’, so there is less stigma to not responding. You can ‘poke’ someone, or ‘throw a sheep’ at them. It could be argued that the quality of communication is lower, but… thats for others to debate.
so, given that all of the techs that lower communication costs have been so successful, whats next? what could be simpler than facebook?
maybe its a single integrated view of all these forms. Maybe its an enterprise view. How come the most that enterprises tend to use is email, and sometimes (occasionally) instant messaging? Facebook is a little bit ‘push’, in that it emails you if something interesting has changed. But maybe not enough for enterprise. Maybe there needs to be desktop integration (via RSS?) or similar. A grand unified view of the communication technologies?
or maybe theres something that lowers the cost of communication even further?
ok, Im off travelling for a month! A little bit of the states, a little bit of Rio, a little bit of Mexico, and probably quite a bit of Cuba…