Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A powerful tool for the real-time age

Remember that a-tissue Twitter-powered hayfever map that Kleenex did?

Yesterday I was kicking around an idea to track expressed activity in a mash-up of Twitter and googlemaps.
And I'm starting to wonder if there is a solution to the 'social media monitoring' problem I identified at last month's Monitoring Social Media buried somewhere in functionality like this.

My contention was that current monitoring tech gives us snap shots which we can the examine under the microscope. A boon in developing a strategy based on where people WERE talking about you, in what ways and in what parts of the social media toolset.

But what we increasingly need for the real-time web is a video version - because the peer-to-peer interaction of the Internet is more flock than rational in it's nature.

Past recorded behaviour is not necessarily a predictor of future interaction.

Put another way, we're trying to drive using the rear-view mirrors.

We need real time - to know that the flock is moving, at what speed, at what rate of change of speed and in what direction. That may equip us to join in more effectively as part of the movement -as true amplifiers - rather than trying to turn the flock in our chosen direction. (there's a chapter in my book on our inability to dictate to flocks from the centre).

Mashing up real-time expressions of particular activities and displaying this on a map of the physical world would at least show the spread of an activity through a geolocated community (through a street, a town, a county, a nation...)

Further, this could be mapped against other activity to reveal real-time correlations.
Imagine if there was a link between the spread of unhappiness and street crime and you could see, in real time, a cloud of despair headed your way. The police could staff up - heading it off by knowing the direction it was headed in and at what speed.

Perhaps a business could better predict demand and allocate resource more efficiently as a result?

Imagine a despot could use it to put down a revolution before it got off the ground?

And imagine if you mapped this not only against the physical world, but also against the digital?

A powerful tool for the real-time age.

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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?