This is linked to my views on changes in the way we are working that I previously referred to as moving from Matrix Working to Mesh Working. The more I try to fit the various pieces together the more I think it’s not just about work, it’s about the increasingly blurring of our lives between people, places and events all over lapping, so may be it’s better to say ‘Mesh Interacting’. A complex meshing together of the known, and unknown, to make sense of what our options are, and with whom, at what time, and this leads me to the value of Micro Blogging.
I confess to being a late convert to understanding this, though you may recall my comments on locations and Jaiku, now bought by Google, few months back. What started me thinking further was the spate of new applications that build on top of social networking platforms, all of which are based on the premise that your browser stays open on MySpace, Facebook, or what ever, as the centre of activity in the lives of you and your friends. Fair enough, but somewhat limiting as you can’t expect everyone that you know, or might want to know, using the same networking site.
Then there are some ‘vanilla’ offerings, and the one I like best currently is Imified which brings everything together through Instant Messaging, and if there is a single unified core service for everyone in this new online World then IM gets to be the most likely service. The Imified proposition is simple, do it in IM and it will get written into your other organisational applications without you having to open the browser window to get access. Neat and easy too!
So now we have social networks to find the people we want to interact with, and we have services like Imified to help the communication / organisation, so what about events? Events that are easy to recognise through clear dates and locations, such as a family birthday get together, are easy, more interesting is the way you can now handle planed events that you want to collaborate with others to see if its worth attending or not.
That leaves people and unplanned, or spontaneous, meetings. You can argue that the social networking site itself has taken over from the physical location as a place to ‘hang out’ and meet friends. Certainly that’s true, but people do want to physically meet too, and in the crowded busy lifestyles of today its not easy, especially as we continually change our geographical location as we travel more and more.
This brings me to my point; I have finally realised that perhaps the real point of Micro Blogging is that it provides your location in real time. It’s a kind of personal RFID tag that you can choose whether, or not, to enable. However you could reasonably argue that you can get the location by other means such as a phone cell. What Micro Blogging allows is to add context to the location; i.e. having lunch in the bar at xyz industry event describes the location and that it’s a social setting suitable for causally meeting up. Whereas in contrast at a meeting at xyz industry event means I am working, and not available for a social meeting.
Looking at Micro Blogging in this way also might be a clue to the Google acquisition of Jaiku, as it allows a match to be made to other possibilities. Looking for Lunch at xyz industry event, might lead to information on restaurants as an example. It makes a real distinction between conventional Web Blogging as a historical record, and/or set of opinions, to Micro Blogging as real time context to what I am actually doing, and where, right now. Also explains why it’s a generation thing again, the Smart Phone generation, is the obvious name for them, but may be ‘the here and now’ generation of instant responses might fit better.