There are a few interesting discussions going on regarding Twitter, FriendFeed, Seesmic, Disqus and a whole bunch of other social sites. Ironically, the discussions are not about comments, but they are about “destinations”. I find it ironic because some of these sites are meant to be the destination. However, all of the sites have one thing in common. They enable better conversations. The main question from these discussion threads seem to be regarding what the “destination” will be. On FriendFeed, a discussion was started by Rex Hammock:
“FriendFeed, Twitter, Seesmic et al, are pointing in the direction of something. They aren’t the destination.”
Mark Dykeman asked another question in this thread that is similar yet infers that maybe the semantic web really is the future:
Are these Web 2.0 services instead pointing to the need for some future database, searchable, filterable, where we’ll all go for info?
I do think the semantic web is part of the future, but I do not think there will be just one destination. More importantly, I do not think that a web site is the destination. The destination is the conversation itself. This is what makes FriendFeed so popular, it starts a conversation that is potentially different than the conversation on the source site or blog. I am not sure why people feel that a destination is required either. Granted we have a limited amount of time, so there cannot be a hundred different sites to visit every day. However, most people would be comfortable with a handful of critical sites to visit daily. Two other comments came up as well. One from the same FriendFeed thread:
Im sticking with the decentralization argument. I want to host my own Twitter/friend-feed, just like I do with WordPress, MoveType. I want my own MYSQL database to control my own data, my own security, just like everything. This is where its all evolving, I think. Currently, the transmission is backwards. And no one gets any linkcred for anything. – Andrew Baron
Decentralization is an interesting idea, however Andrew basically gives us a centralized option that the blogger owns. This technically does not solve the problem, it just changes the location. Alexander Van Elsas asks a good question in his recent post:
If everything becomes socially connected, if there are no more walled gardens, if we can interact anywhere we want, would there still be a need for a destination?
Andrew and Alexander do have an interesting idea. There is not a need for a single destination, but having something that can aggregate what we want to look at is a good idea. If the conversation is the destination, then we are looking for something that is a portal to the conversations. I do not think any one service can do everything that we would want, but a combination of services may hold the key. When looked at the problem in this way, a personalized homepage service may be the answer. Services like iGoogle, Netvibes or Pageflakes may not do what we want now, but future services like them could hold the answer. Having several services aggregated on a personalized homepage may give us the view into the conversations that we want to participate in.
Why do we insist on having one site to go to when the conversations are better when in separate places?
11 thoughts on “Conversations Are The Destination”
funnily enough just as I started reading your post the same thought came into my head – what’s the big deal about there having to be a destination.
I think people are really looking for the next google. Who is going to be the big one? There is no barrier to entry anymore, so a collection of services will probably be much better.
The main problem with conversation dispersion for the social media user or blogger is the desire to find out what people are saying about us. Natural human desire and a part of reputation management.
With regards to my comment in the Rex thread, I wasn’t specifically thinking of the “semantic Web” but it’s possible, I guess.
I understand the need to know what is being said, I even wrote YackTrack for that purpose. However, the idea of a single destination is not really the point of social media or blogging. That was my real point.
With regards to your comment, I read it and thought that it sounded very similar to what the semantic web has the potential to be.
A destination is, by definition, somewhere that we end up and in todays social web that is no longer as relevant as it used to be.
I like Steven’s take in his podcast about what Alexander had to say. He interpreted Alexanders “destination” as the place we return to to regroup and assess what we have been doing – I think that pretty much sums it up.
We are constantly moving, branching out and discovering new things so it is nice to come “home” but that is merely a resting place rather than our ultimate destination.
The reason why there’s so much hubbub about destinations is because everyone wants to BE the destination. I’m not a social media guru like y’all, but isn’t that pretty obvious? It’s a strange little dance that services create in order to plant an idea in people’s heads about need. In reality, there may not be such a need for social media consumers, only the providers.
The real problem is that everyone wants to be that “home” for a user. Some of the FriendFeed diehards are already using it as their homepage. I do not plan on doing that, but I understand the need for one “home”. That is why I think the next generation of personalized homepages will be interesting.
I do think many users/consumers want some destination like iGoogle right now. It is easier to get all of your “stuff” in one spot. I absolutely agree that the hubbub is because everyone wants to be the destination, a very good point.
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