I am just now getting the time to catch up on some of my more meaty blog feeds (read:academics) and devote the kind of time I need to their posts.
I was so disheartened by the treatment that danah boyd received at Web 2.0 a couple weeks ago. It’s hard enough getting over your nerves to speak at large conferences, but a publicly viewable (save by you) backchat seem like a nightmare. Backchats should be backchats – opt-in discussions, out of public view, not unavoidable speaking accompaniments on public screens. My heart goes out to her.
I got a chance to read the talk she gave, though. As is usually the case, danah does a great job articulating many of the abstract and emerging topics in the social media industry. I especially like her point that we should work on embracing these new immersive forms of communication and social norms that are developing because of (or in spite of) social media. She posed the challenge to the entrepreneurs and business folk in her audience to focus:
not simply [on]… aggregating or curating content to create personalized destination sites… Instead, [create] the tools that consumers need… that allow them to get into flow, that allow them to live inside information structures wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. The tools that allow them to easily grab what they need and stay peripherally aware without feeling overwhelmed.
As someone who’s path normally leads more toward the content producer side than otherwise, I appreciate the challenge she poses. I love me some Google Reader, but how often have I looked at my reader and seen the (1000+) on a category and felt disheartened enough to turn away and not catch up. Is this the semantic web? Is this a tools set? Maybe a combination? Not sure, but I will definitely have this in mind as I work on further projects. It’s especially interesting in the kids space, as they are so quick to adapt and let us know what works and what doesn’t for them.