SmoothSpan Blog

For Executives, Entrepreneurs, and other Digerati who need to know about SaaS and Web 2.0.

Archive for March 21st, 2008

The Conversation is Becoming Diffuse

Posted by Bob Warfield on March 21, 2008

Sarah Perez says the Conversation Has Left the Blogosphere.  I’m not sure if that’s true.  Blogs have comments, but frankly they can be awkward vehicles for having a conversation, particularly if it is back and forth between dueling blogs.  I read her article in a bit different way that is more concerning.  There are now so many vehicles for conversations that she lists no less than 15 ways to keep up. 

Are we really having conversations, or are we just forming small cliques around the trendy fashionable applet du jour?  Twitter, FriendFeed, Social Bookmarking, Disqus, yada, yada, yada.  Get enough vehicles going and there isn’t much conversation.  Everyone is scatterd in small groups.  Everyone is checking a million feeds or searching for the one right aggregator.  And the aggregators don’t help either as they try to create sticky lock-in by not exporting their conversations ala FriendFeed.

Conversation is facilitated by common channels, not a zillion incompatible channels.  If every country had dozens of incompatible cell phone standards, the value of a cellphone would be seriously diminished.  Incompatibility of conversation channels is not just an attention overload problem, it’s much more insidious.

Posted in Web 2.0 | 1 Comment »

LinkedIn Adds Companies as First Class Citizens

Posted by Bob Warfield on March 21, 2008

LinkedIn is rolling out company profile pages, so now companies are first class objects in the web of relationships that LinkedIn tracks.  That’s a good move.  It will play well for several of the 10 Ideas to Take LinkedIn to the Next Level I published.  For example:

– Do Some Heavy Lifting in the CRM and Marketing World:  It’ll be very helpful to be able to go from company to people (as opposed to just going people to company before the new feature) to build up this kind of functionality.

– Get More Private and Premium White Label Services for Companies:  It is hinted that companies will eventually have Wiki-style control over some aspects of their profiles.  That could make the profile a good home page for internal white label applications.  There’s still a lot of work to be done to enable those services, such as the ability to add fields to the entries for people that are private internal-use only for the companies.  Being able to understand the hiring and promotion scene at a company is great, and a logical next step is to support internal recruiting and mobility within an organization as a private white label service.

–  Web Mentions:  There is talk of news feeds that show “headliners” or people’s mentions in the press.  That’s a good start, but the web is a lot more than press releases.  It should be straightforward to add additional feed sources into the framework that the new initiative creates.

–  Creating a Business Relationship Semantic Web:  I had suggested that LinkedIn could “own” the semantic web for people.  Tying people back to companies and vice versa is classic semantic web activity.   Without the semantic web, search engines have to guess from keyword proximity and pages whether two are related.  LinkedIn has a chance to validate this more fully and be a webwide system of record for who is connected to which companies.  Again, it’s a good start.

It’ll be interesting to watch the future of LinkedIn unfold.

Posted in user interface, Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

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