Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reply to All now called Post to Twitter

My friend Luis Suarez who's blog and Twitter streams I read often, posted this yesterday on his blog.

Luis suggest that Activity Streams will save us from Information Overload over Craig Roth's post that this will just be another inbox..

This is an interesting point, one which Google, Facebook, Novell, IBM, Linkedin and many others are using to feed us information.

In one way, this is Reply to All gone horribly wrong. One can post or reply to people and everyone sees it, like in Twitter or Facebook or Novell's Vibe and was this way in Google's Wave. Luckily, and IT for the moment is happy about this part, none of it gets stored locally or on a server.....yet!

Surprisingly, one can learn some great bits of information from the stream, no question. But it also means one must be reading it 24x7. That doesn't make sense. Thus developers created Filters, and they were good. BUT how do I filter what I don't know? This is important. I can filter by person, or idea or product but what if someone posts about a rare concert by Warren Zevon? Do I set up filters for every band, then briefly read them for anything interesting?

Sounds like another form of inbox to me.

If you like one program, whatever it is does not matter, and it can feed all of your interests, feeds, pictures, etc.. shouldn't you use that as your only client/application?

The question will be, who's app wins.

The flip side is, in theory, better awareness of those around us, directly or peripherally. My friends around the world I can vaguely know where they are and what they are doing is interesting. Not very business helpful to me but I am sure others would like to know these details for their business.

This is also the issue with streams. Privacy. Making very clear which incoming and outgoing messages are private or not to be shared. The definition varies immensely.

Luis hit it perfectly when he described what the streams do for your organization in this line: They help flatten organisations and traditionally hierarchical structures. Now anyone can contact the CEO or VP of Marketing or whomever. In IBM one could always do it, though naturally one wouldn't on a daily basis. But many other companies, some people don't even know who the executives are, they might not even care.

But once you find your company personnel on a service, BAM! you can talk to anyone. Doesn't mean they will listen to you, but the fact that they, in theory, are listening, means a lot to employees and your vendors/suppliers or Business Partners. If something is important it will bubble up and be found or heard, but that doesn't mean that other topics of secondary or tertiary interest should be ignored.

The challenge is how to filter for those lower tier details which sometimes are more important to know about.

Tweetdeck is helpful for Twitter but unless one has a very wide screen or multiple screens, one can not see all the other streams because they each get a column. This is just one example of an inbox of the future. Not one giant stream of information but a break down in UI in a more granular way.

There is another aspect of all of this data and information flying past us and I will get to that in another post.