Or, Time’s Arrow: how to break through chaos and make sense of an Internet that is no longer your web page, a search engine, and everyone you want to get to one through the other.
Laura from Pistachio Consulting has a nice video discourse on Twitter for business, and why the “stupid” application is (or will lead to what becomes) a future corner of a triangle of communication, email and the Internet proper being the other corners.
She mentions a chapter in The Little Prince, where a fox notes to the little boy it will become tame with time and exposure, and that the boy should stand remotely but visible to the fox until the predator (or friend) becomes comfortable with what, before, would have triggered immediate flight.
The mules have an issue with that being a good thing in all cases. Laura, in speaking to business and executives, certainly does not condone or mention the negatives we will, and she follows a logical path that works well for corporate transparency and WOM marketing, buzz, interactivity with consumers, the usual.
However, a fox is a good symbol: crafty, cunning, quick.
There are many good things about microsharing, liveblogging, social media, multi-facing UI elements, and becoming familiar with and perhaps even comfortable with a concept of “life streaming” – but companies are one thing, people another.
There is also chaos and unregulated – truly, impossible to regulate – growth and volume in applications such as Twitter.
Happily, Twitter has yet to be in the news for a stalked or murdered tween, but it may well be an enabling agent for evil as well as good.
Twitter’s very simplicity encourages use by younger youth even than those that are likely to be found on MySpace. From what has been seen and released to date, even the most overtly threatening Twitter accounts are lightly policed and pursued, though the community stomps into a herd circle quickly when a threat is uncovered.
But there is no sorting the chaos. Twitter’s profiling, like the rest of the application, is simplistic and light. There is no specific request for one’s age or marital status, and if massive amounts of user-identifiable data are collected and stored from every Tweet, it’s a small wonder the fail whale is not a fixture on the access pages.
There will be many challenges and hurdles for Twitter and its imitators and (think of say, friendfeed) related offshoots.
Among the greatest of these will be whether more powerful tools for separation of fluff and substance, categorization beyond “follow or not” – and protection and disincentive for various user types can be implemented.
Chaos is the hallmark of novelty and change.
Whether Twitter is a completely new idea is debatable, the mules remember their first (and continuing) thought that Twitter was at best an evolution – perhaps backwards – of blogs and static “web 1.0” web pages.
But chaos Twitter has contributed to, that much cannot be argued. Classical entropy would suggest an attempt to modify the unsorted will only introduce further chaos to the system.
Whether or not an efficient Maxwell’s Demon – likely a software solution – can discover a way to sort chaos into anything less than anarchy, and without destroying the system’s endearing simplicity… that will be among the many interesting and ongoing struggles to witness in the world of technology, and Twitter, in 2009.
Until then, stay safe… and keep your children safer.