Scoble has set a fire under Facebook for not letting him move his data out of their network and into another network. He has posted about it here.
Data portability (and interchange) is going to be an important part of 2008 with people using more and more services to meet their needs. Amongst the tech crowd, people seem to be using Facebook less and less and moving to specialised services like Twitter, tumblr and Flickr for “status updates”, life feeds and photos respectively. The ability to move between services can only be good for the consumer – increasing competition amongst similar services and providing better functionality. I am hoping this will allow for better attention based tools to come to the fore – Twitter is definitely better at putting quality information in front of me than the Facebook currently because of the tighter audience. Of course, if Twitter took off in the same way as Facebook then it too would suffer as it would need to prioritise or at least group messages.
There is a new group I have just joined called dataportability.org which is looking to help this happen. It seems to make sense.
I wonder if this idea could be replicated at the operating system level? It would make for more interesting competition – the ability to remove microsoft’s components and replace them with others. Is it technically feasible? It would need Microsoft to open up the OS significantly.
It’s more than a year since I gave a talk on Attention based management systems and how I envisaged they would become key to managing all the data that is thrown at us everyday. If anything attention as a buzzword has decreased in the past 12 months, whilst the amount of data has increased massively thanks in no small part to Twitter and the Facebook newsfeed.
It would be interesting to see whether a prolific rss reader like Scoble saw a decrease in the number of posts he read compared to last year. Back in September, the BBC reported that the time required to use Facebook has come about at the expense of worker productivity.
So why are attention tools not getting attention? (sorry!) It is actually rather simple. It’s built into everything we use already.
The very Facebook newsfeed that has increased the amount of data we see, is customisable to show what we want to see. Facebook rolled out the ability to give feedback on what you do and do not want to see (I trust it will be used eventually as it doesnt seem to be yet!). It is early days but this very newsfeed allows you to keep in touch with more people using less time.
The major reason more people have been using Google Reader is the flexibility it gives you to read blog posts efficiently. I definitely read more posts now then I used to with Bloglines a year ago. Fav.or.it is another RSS reader that attempts to place content most relevant to you in front of you.
Even the workhorse of the office worker, Microsoft Outlook 2007 has taken a huge step with its task features. It now places tasks both in a new right hand panel so you can see it immediately as well as the relevant tasks in your calendar. I used tasks sporadically before but could not do without it now.
As for the applications I looked at a year ago, Touchstone (now Particls) and Attensa still exist and I’ll take a closer look at both in later posts.
Oh and one last thing – just like in marketing, attention is all about relevance.
The path to a new browser:
- Installed Firefox 3
- Found most plugins I needed didn’t work (yes its in beta I should be patient)
- Read a post about memory issues in Firefox generally (which I felt constantly) and how Flock was not (no longer?) just an “addon” to Firefox but a complete replacement. Supposedly it integrated new social platforms (Facebook, Flickr, delicious, twitter) and solved the memory issues with Firefox. The latter especially was a sweeping statement but he went on to say that he was wrong about Flock.
- So seeing as I had the same opinion of Flock when I tried it at launch I figured maybe I should give it a try
- Love it – didn’t need several plugins and I only had to add IETab, mouse gestures and FireFTP. I await to see the memory improvements but I love the media streams.