After each Carsonified conference, I like to ask myself the question, what does the future hold? In this case, what is the future of web apps? (Just like the name of the conference… FOWA)
Mozilla Labs’ Aza Raskin has a really good talk yesterday. He demoed Mozilla’s project to create a command line for the Web, Ubiquity. The interesting part was how it made it easy to take the functionality of certain Web apps and use them right where they were needed instead of having to go back to the destination site.
Aza had some good examples. With a few strokes of the keyboard, he could drop a Google Map or a Yelp listing into a Gmail message. In the same amount of time he was able to translate a chunk of text on a Japanese Web site into English then Spanish and then French.
It really illustrated one tenant which I think is the future of Web apps that it’s no longer about building a great Web app. It’s about building a great Web service or piece of functionality that I can take with me and use wherever I want to use it.
I meet sooooo many folks who have great ideas for Web apps and I’m sure they’ll all be very helpful. I have to ask myself though… is it good/helpful enough that I’m going to integrate it into my life? Am I going to create a tab open open in Firefox or Safari so that I can have easy access to it whenever I want?
I tell you… I don’t leave Google Translate open, even though it is useful but it seems to be more at home for me to be able to select text I want to translate on a Web site and have it just be translated in-line. It’s make taking this service and using where I want it to be.
I was sitting oustide at a coffee shop this morning talking with some friends. We were talking about restaurants in the city that we really liked. The conversation reinforced the principle that I had seen over and over again on the Web that sharing is at the center of discovery.
We find out whats new… we identify what we need to pay attention to… we process the world through the eyes of those that we interact with and what they tell us about.
If you’re a business, event, content publisher, or just someone with a message and want to get people to discover you, get people to share you. Get people excited enough where they want to tell their friends about you. Also… make it easy for your users to share.
What’s the last thing that got you excited enough that you wanted to talk about it?
The Economist has a funny and kind of sad blog post, “How Twitter stopped a coup.” Essentially, the Virginia State Republican Chairman tweeted that a Democrat in the state Senate was about to switch parties potentially giving Republicans control. The tweet got back to the Democrats and gave them the time to browbeat the state senator into staying where he was.
Moral of the story: Twitter is great for expressing your inner thoughts but there are some thoughts that should just stay in your head.
Also… about making real-life friends, have you guys seen the Dentyne Ice commercial “Make Face Time” ?!? I know it’s about selling gum but I think it has a really rad message.
Social media is great but use that social media to try and create some “face time”. Get together at a coffee shop, bar, or someone’s house. Get to know each other that way. It’ll help take your relationships to a new level.
One conversation that I’ve been seeing more of is – how do i get more people to follow me on Twitter? Well, Ryan Carson of Carsonified just posted his top 5 tips and especially hit the ball out of the park with one of them, “Make real-life friends.”
I’ve gotten to know a lot of the leading figures in the web industry – people who are really influential on the Twitter space. I didn’t have some sort of Machiavellian plan – these were just the folks who were speaking at FOWA and FOWD. Once I was trusted by people, they were happy to connect me and recommend me.
The important thing is that I wasn’t trying to use people – I have a genuine interest getting to know them and be of help if they need me for anything.
One of the biggest parts of my job is getting out there, extending the size of the company’s community, and making new friends. Twitter works perfectly as a mechanism for me to stay in touch with those friends… to know what’s going on with my “global neighborhood.” Often, they want to stay in touch with me too and they’ll follow me.
The New York Times has a really cool article, “Battle Plans for Newspapers.” In it, they have grab 8 industry experts and get their opinions about the current and future state of the newspaper. Its a pretty good read.
Looks like Craig Newmark gave a killer talk at the User Generated Content Expo. He spoke on “Unlocking the Secrets to Building Community.” ReadWriteWeb has a great write up of his talk. Definitely worth a read.