The Rebirth of Conversation
August 23, 2010 4 Comments
Instead of just spinning our wheels about whether or not we’re really having solid conversational engagement on blogs, Twitter, etc., it seems to me that we could better spend our energy fixing the problem.
I’m betting some smart little start-up could pull off a cool alpha version in 8 weeks.
What we need is a platform that overcomes the asynchronous aspect of blogs/Twitter/Facebook etc., AND allows us to have smaller, more intimate conversations with a select few. Here’s how it could work.
Your Twitter (or Facebook, or LinkedIn….) contacts are imported. The user is able to classify each contact into one of say, 4 categories (Intimate; Friend; Acquaintance; Waved-at-your-avatar-in-passing-once-or-twice).
Let’s say you have 1/2 hour one night that you’d like to devote to REAL, real-time conversation. When you login, the platform detects who is on-line, sorting them by your levels of familiarity. You can choose to be in the lounge (wide-open room, like Twitter or a tweetchat), or in a private room. If you choose to have a conversation with one or a few friends (pre-planned or spontaneous), you take it into a room, which can then remain open for others, or closed off.
So, I might login, and see that my friend Lisa Petrilli is having a conversation with Liz Strauss and Tom Martin. All of these are already close friends of mine (Intimates), and I see that the link shows that the door is “open” – so I join in. But if this was a private session for just those three, I wouldn’t even see it.
A conversation struck up in the lounge could easily move to a private room, of course – and people hanging out in the lounge can be privately invited to a smaller-scale conversation in a side room when the participants see that this friend has logged in.
I guess you could also have a setting where a group could conduct a conversation/interview and others could “lurk” but not participate.
We wouldn’t go to this platform to promote blog posts or share links (primarily). It’s for conversation. A tie-in to video and/or audio Skype would be a huge bonus.
Really, this is not new technology. It’s a marriage of existing capabilities we already have. But it’s a scalable and controllable way to bring real-time interaction back to social networking.
What do you think?
(Update 1: Jaffe points out that much of what is described above is built into the design of Second Life. True – but what we need [in my opinion] is that approach without the confusing overhead of the 3-D interface. Simple, fast, mobile-friendly.)
(Update 2: here’s an interesting new app under development that does part of this, AND includes a “local” aspect – nice!)
(Update 3: Mike Sansone picks up the theme that blogging is still very much alive at the center of networking – a perspective with which I agree)
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