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?