Streams and Pages and Apps, Oh My!

By John Mancini posted 06-23-2010 17:29



I'm a big fan of the TWIG (This Week in Google) podcasts hosted by Leo Laporte and usually featuring Jeff Jarvis (author of What Would Google Do?) and Gina Trapani (author of The Complete Guide to Google Wave) and a random guest or two.
On one of the recent shows (can't quite remember which; usually listen to these in the car or on the treadmill and they mesh into one big podcast) there was an interesting discussion about some of the challenges raised by the different organizing principles of the web, and the impact that these different world views will have on the future of how we consume and interact with information.
More specifically, there are three core world views relative to the organization and flow of information actively in play.
  1. Pages (and its close relative Links). This is the world that Google has dominated and the way we usually think of the web. It is a world in which openness is paramount. Without openness, links become harder to find and prioritize and thus pages as well. As the volume of information grows, so too does the importance of information curation, filtration, and organization into pages.
  2. Streams. The major players here are Facebook and Twitter. Here, the emphasis is upon activity streams, with other forms of information (photos, documents, links) attachments to the stream. There are wildly varying perspectives on openness in this world view, ranging from very open (Twitter) to mostly closed (Facebook) in the public worlds to private activity streams particular a particular organization or network.
  3. Apps. Apple obviously comes to mind when thinking about an app-centric universe, with an ever-growing set of Android apps also becoming increasingly important. The worldview here is very different from the first two in that apps are being driven by the need of mainstream users for increased usability. The trade-off here is that the result is often more of a walled garden than exists in the world of pages in which information created within the app is held somewhat hostage within the confines of the app.
All of these are not mutually exclusive. But understanding how they play together (or more importantly sometimes don't play well together) is important to thinking through your E2.0 strategy, particularly in terms of how this strategy connects with the "outside" world.
How are you dealing with these issues? At the core, which world view dominates how your organization thinks about information and its uses?  Let us know.

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