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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

The Future of Communications

Here are some interesting comments and discussions in the area of mapping the future of communications tools and social software. Interesting as they provide a perspective to those grappling with all these tools, and personally to me as i set out on a youth program.

Yet i feel - ask a 17 year old to read them and she may just turn around and say - "hey - so what's new?".  I think we need to observe how this age group is communicating to be able to better predict what's required and what's coming in the next decade or two.  Extend this observation of their modes of communication into the immersive gaming world they love, the trends in their usage and adoption of mobile telephony from simple voice to texting, imaging and wireless computing, to kids walking around with wearable cams .....and the experiments in wearable computers ....  

At a more social level - i wonder how this might affect our existing relationships, especially when some in the relationship are early-adopters and others don't yet see the power in it.  I loved Rob Paterson's recent post in this context.

Dave Pollard has an interesting analysis of different media available for communicating today, and attempts a forecast of how this will change in the next two decades. 

Here are a few excerpts (read the full post to do real justice) :


As I've said in my business posts, I see the weblog becoming a ubiquitous communication medium, a proxy for every individual, where everything you want to know about that individual (which they have given you permission to see) can be called up. The effect of that will be to eliminate many communications whose purpose is simply to get information. The blog will be the main vehicle by which we educate, inform and explain (the first of the five communication objectives) and express ourselves (the last of the five objectives). The middle three objectives - to persuade, decide and relate - are the more intense and participatory reasons for communicating, and even the much-improved weblogs of the future aren't going to be up to those tasks.

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that the communication 'killer app' of the future will be peer-to-peer videoconferencing. Not the bulky, cumbersome room videoconferencing tool of today, but the next-gen personal wireless webcam-based tool that will allow you to look at, and talk to, some one on the other side of the globe as if they were right beside you. For the same reason that I have predicted weblogs will transform the way in which we share information, by becoming the proxy for what you know, so do I predict webcams will transform communications by becoming the proxy for where you are. Turning on your individual webcam in the future, so others can see you, will be as simple and automatic as putting on your glasses is today, so you can see others.

There's also a neat discussion on at The KnowledgeBoard Forum's Communities of Practice SIG on this.  [link via mrG's comment at Dave's post].

And Joi Ito says today :

As I continue to be immersed in IRC, the question that I am struggling with is how better to integrate IM, IRC, wikis and blogs. There are so many ways to do this yet no one seems to have done it well. There is also the issue of the metadata and meta-services like reputation tracking, search, identify management, etc. I'm sure different communities will find different combinations of tools useful.

Even though I call my blog "a conversation" I now realize after using IM and chat a lot that it still looks more like publishing or giving a speech although the comment threads are like conversations. IM chats can be like transactions. IRC is conversation or even "hanging out" with friends. The wiki is where we collaborate. The core strengths of each of these tools is very important and I think we all do a little bit of each of these activities. The alchemy of these tools is really interesting and I urge people to get over the hump and try these tools in combination and join us in thinking about what this all means. ;-)

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Blogologues & Conversations

This is soooo cool - check out these swedish horses. Thanks Morten, for the link!

10:00:56 AM    comment []  trackback []

Blogs from Microsoft Employees - The Tribe Grows

Now this is interesting ..... and worth watching how it all evolves, as the tribe grows (bold is mine) :

Frank Maslowski, another stellar Microsoft employee (who happens to report to me) started up his blog. I'm officially adding blogging to all their review objectives for the new fiscal year! I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say, you'll want to stay tuned to this one. And I expect a good dose of humor sprinkled throughout.

"My role here at Microsoft is Retail Marketing, so I could be another Marketing guy. However, I'm moving over to the PR team, which I'm very excited about. So, what does PR mean? Is it just getting in the face of our customer? Is it an interruption that makes an initial short lived impact? What about developing buzz or a viral effect? How do you develop buzz, or a sustained message that others can communicate for you? could blogging do it?"

(By the way, I'm working on getting Diane, James, Mike and Frank to move to Blogger Pro so we can get RSS feeds... And if we're all lucky, we'll see blogs by Cesar, Lori, Ed, and Robyn before too long!)
[John Porcaro's Weblog]

And from an earlier post -

Congratulations to James Martin on his first blog post! He writes:

"I told John P. (my previous manager and a serious blog-aholic) that I wouldn't start a blog, but alas, the day has come to start my very own! After reading blogs from people I work with, I really get the sense that people are more open in their blogs than with each other outside the hallways at work. I plan to do the same with my blog, too."

And from yet another at John's blog :

Dave Weinberger says, in an article in the Star Tribune:

""If companies allow their employees to blog, [they] have the opportunity of engaging their customer in the sort of genuine conversations that build real customer loyalty," Weinberger said. "There is a risk that a weblogger will criticize a product, but in the post-marketing world of the Internet, being frank even when negative can build a stronger relationship than when they are mindlessly positive."

9:46:35 AM    comment []  trackback []