Word on the Tweet

Crazy things are happening on the web. Participants are struggling to keep things new and fresh, and to stay relevant – a constant theme in any x.0 phase. Since I’m on a personal mission to enjoy the city I’m living in (and fearing addiction and possible overload) I’m not following many people right now. I rely on a few, well-informed professionals to keep me updated on new trends.


Steve Rubel (@steverubel) is who strikes my thoughts today. He’s currently working on a “lifestream” experiment that “abandons” blogging as the new slow media. Rubel is using faster and mobile-device friendly applications to share with his readers. iPhones and Blackberries have changed the way people interact with the web and increased the “I want it now” factor. In the comments of a blog entry, readers exchanged thoughts on Rubel’s tactics. One person stated,
“I don’t know that doing something that results in more streaming, instead of more organized streaming, is the best way to go.” (http://www.steverubel.com/blogs-are-out-of-beta-but-bloggers-are-always accessed on July 1, 2009.)
It’s a valid point, but surprising from a tech-savvy blogger. Once upon a time this was considered the argument of old fuddy duddies, no? Could it be that the value of organization is becoming more important?


Personally, I try not to add to the cloud unless I feel it brings specific value to my online community. On the other hand, I’m not out to make my brand or product known and adding only a little content means I don’t get much exposure. The web is a battlefield for attention and the only weapon is evaluation; which takes time. It’s an interesting conundrum. The object of the game is to find information quickly, but as soon as you find a reliable source you realize there are 25 others you are missing. To follow or not to follow? That is the question.


This brings to mind a question raised in the podcast What’s New at the Media Lab? by the MIT Media Labs’ Frank Moss: Has technology really impacted our lives in a positive manner? Certainly there is value on some level. Some of us get up-to-the-second news and are more connected to our geographically spread relatives, but it’s still only impacting a fraction of the world’s population – and provides more convenience than actual value. When Frank Moss speaks of the impact of technology he’s referring to projects like the Music Painter program that was adapted for a nearly paralyzed person. A laser pointer allowed the person to interact with the screen and, for the first time, express himself freely through music. Can you image the extraordinary impact this program might have on his life?


Not everyone has the resources and freedom of the Media Labs, but the web is an accessible and flexible tool limited only by the imagination of the user – that’s you! As people seek to improve the use of web tools, it’s important to remember that adjectives like “valuable” are as, if not more, important than ones like “fast” or “convenient”.

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