I asked one of my Twitter mates (Kevin O'Keefe) the question this morning of whether Twitter is the final evolution of Blogging, and his response was yes - "Unless we get to to mental telepathy via the keyboard."So, that got me pondering where we go from here. Which, in turn, got me trying to recall how we got to this current part of the RPK model?
My personal memories take me back to the Gopher days (skimming over the Archie and Veronica period). I'm thinking that the first generation of "blogs" probably started out when you used to put the "~" sign in front of your web address to show that this was your "personal page." I didn't become aware of Blogs until around 2002, and didn't start really paying attention to them until a couple years later, and didn't start contributing for another couple of years. Once, I jumped in, however, I was hooked, and was enjoying contributing to the RPK using my blog.
This year, I've been hooked on latest RPK tool, Twitter. In the era of instant gratification, Twitter has to be one of the best tools. I post, I follow, I get followed, I create searches, I follow some more. All using 140 characters or less, and I view hundreds (if not thousands) of little messages each day. I'm able to make connections with interesting, and sometimes influential people in my profession, that I might never have been able to before. After a short period of time, it feels like you are truly friends with some of the people you've never personal met or talk to before. As strange as it sounds, it is pretty exciting.
Of course, this all brings me back to my initial question of, "Is Twitter the Final Evolution of the Blog?" Where in the world could we advance the RPK model from here? It doesn't seem that we could advance any further on our basics for Internet evolution of "smaller, faster, lighter, and cheaper."
"Smaller" - Twitter is 140 characters (SMS limitation is 160)
"Faster" - As far as I can tell, it is pretty instantaneous
"Lighter" - It works on any Internet medium (even my wife's old cell phone can Twitter via SMS)
"Cheaper" - Free (although, I'm wondering if that will change)
What other options are there out there? What adjectives am I missing on my list that could influence the evolution of RPK?
"Better" seems to be too subjective - Is Blogging Better than Tweets? - that seems to be dependant upon what your goals are. More "Interactive" doesn't seem to work either. Proper use of URL shorteners, such as tinyurl, allows you to link out to what you want the Twitter community to see. So, interactive seems to be already there.
After a couple of minutes of meditating on the idea, I could only come up with one adjective that hasn't taken hold in the RPK arena - "Predictive."
Now, before we get all carried away on "artificial intelligence", I want to step back and explain what I mean by Predictive. I also want to concede that a tool like Twitter may be the final evolution for "pushing" RPK out to the public, but it is not the end of the end of the evolutionary chain when it comes to receiving RPK.
Back to Predictive -- Currently, we can track trending on Twitter by viewing what are the hot phrases being discussed on Twitter. But, unless I've missed a tool out there that can do this, we cannot trend specifically those that we follow, or specific groups within those that we follow (let me know if there is a tool that does this already.) At this time, I use tools like TweetDeck to monitor certain phrases that people Tweet about. This has allowed me to stumble upon a few people with some interesting Tweets, but 99% of the results I get tend to be relevant to what I'm tracking. When I focus the search on those that I follow, the relevancy rate goes way up, but it is still limited to my search terms, and I wouldn't say that any type of search that I could set up in TweetDeck could give me any trending details.
In order to be Predictive, I'm thinking that there has to be a mash-up of different tools to get us there. Some type of combination of the vary tools we've reviewed here on this blog, combined with blogs and tweets, that can first establish trending data, and then help us predict what these trends are leading to. Something that will expand our perception of when, how, where, who and why the RPK is being disseminated. There are some tools out there that do portions of these tasks, but nothing that seems to pull it all together in a way to help track or predict trends. Based on the resources that I'm familiar with, I'll try to explain what I mean:
1. When -
I reviewed an Outlook plug-in product called Xobni a few months ago that does the "when" portion of email pretty well. There should be a tool that can show you when you are posting, and when those that you are following are posting, so that you can see the details of the time of day that is most active for your community. I would like this expanded to include both Tweets and Blog postings of those that I follow.
2. How -
Dovetailed with the "when" portion, I'd also like to see what tools people are using to post their RPK. If using Twitter, how are they posting -- if blogs, what tools are they using.
3. Where -
By this "where" I am talking geographically.
I love Twittervision, but think that there should be a tool out there that takes the Twittervision concept and produces a TweetDeck type environment for it to live it.
That way, I can get a global look at those I'm following, and be able to add that additional piece of information into my reading of their RPK.
4. Who -
Of course, we usually know "who" we're following, but what I'm looking for is a way to quickly match some of the information that those that I'm following either post on their own bios, or allow me to add some metadata to their bios based on what I know about them. Then, when I start looking for trends, can I also match up some trending information based on "who" is posting.
5. Why - This is probably the most difficult portion on my wish list. But, not impossible if you look at it from the perspective of "why is this trend occurring" rather than "why is this person posting this RPK."
Now that I've laid out the guide to the perfect world of relaying personal knowledge, I task some ingenious programmer and thinker out there to pull it all together for me.