Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lego Man: Why the next web is about meta data, first

The next web, the one that really counts, will connect us all via the real time expression of intent through meta data.

It will find ways for us to find each other through the things we find interesting. It will automate, cut down technical barriers and be available to all.

And the way we will cut through the unimaginable clutter of everything everyone finds interesting is to focus on the real time and focus on intent.

The more we can make relevant, intent related connections, the more value we bring to the network (for example, communities of purpose vs focus groups)

The first step is to connect in ways in which you can express your real time intent to others. All others.

That requires a simple ability to connect, a ubiquity of connection and perhaps (in the first instance) a focus less on the human expressing the intent and more on the meta data (content) being expressed.

Zemanta is giving us an intro to this right now: Less who is friends with who?, more what is interesting to who?

It is what the semantic web seeks to achieve, taking us beyond the node-focused world of social networks and towards the meta data (connections) of the networked world.

So we shift from focusing on social networks as some kind of goal towards a mission to enable our transformation into global digital social beings, constructed from and expressed as meta data across a silo-free web.

But for all this, we must not lose sight of the human.

Ideas don't act, humans do. It is our discussion of ideas that leads to the creation of new ones, new action and new value.

But in so much as we exist on the web, it is as a bundle of ideas which we choose to express or which are bundled with us through our interactions with others. Hence the initial focus on meta data. Hence the ever-deconstructable, reconstructable Lego Man. (image courtesy freezelight)

The next web has to retain the sovereign self while acknowledging the multiple complexity of that self.

Content, metadata, can and should seek out related ideas, provided those ideas come with a human attached.

Focusing on real time expression of intent of course misses a cornucopia of value stored in latent, indirectly expressed intent, which when shared will add thousands, millions more nodes to the potential communities of purpose that could form.

But let's see how we handle expressed intent first.

I'm meeting with citizensonline.org later this week with a view to joining as a trustee. It's mission is to add nodes to the network.

And really, this post has been about reminding myself about what is valuable in that endeavour.

But it's also my expression of metadata on these themes. I await the connections it makes with both interest and purpose...

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?