10 ways to improve web 2.0 and move into an era of true interaction

I have expressed my opinions about the flaws in web 2.0 and how to correct them earlier and have gotten some very smart replies to that. I believe that in the end it is all about interaction between people. My interaction is my profile. It says more about me, about the things I find valuable, than anything I write in a profile (we all look better on Facebook than in real life right?). I also believe that current business models force service providers to put value into the network or application they build, instead of focusing on creating true user value.

In order to get out of the trap called web 2.0 we need to correct some flaws or perhaps (re-)invent some of the things to get to the point where interaction becomes the most important thing in any service. Having a need for a name for it I called it an Open Social Interaction Network, but I’m still open for anything better than that (let’s not call it web 3.0 please).

To deepen this discussion let me state my 10 personal wishes that in my opinion help us get out of web 2.0, where value seems to be put mostly into the network, into something that totally evolves around our interaction with others, thus providing value to YOU and ME:

  1. I want to be able to export my friends and contact information to any other service I choose. Lets be real. The network does not OWN that data. It is mine. I have either taken the energy to find and add contacts to my friend list, have gotten it from them, or have typed them in myself. I want to be able to use that data anywhere I want. Why can I import all my data into a network, but they don’t provide me with an export function? Try it on Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Jaiku, Orkut. They are all willing to import my Outlook or Gmail contacts, but none provide me easy options to export my contacts from their service to another. Of course I am bound to privacy rules set by myself or my friends (if they don’t want me to export, I won’t)
  2. Export my (multimedia) content to any other service I choose. Heck, if I want to burn a CD of all content I got or sent I can’t even do it. Twitter and Jaiki work with feeds, but Facebook doesn’t? Well, they are happy to import feeds, but I can’t export Facebook activity or content out of the network. Same goes for pictures, videos and any other content that I have kept, or that has been sent to me.
  3. I have friends and contacts on many different networks. I want a lifestream service that allows me to see all of their activity regardless of the network and vice versa
  4. In relation to point 3, I want to be able to message any of my contacts, without having to go to a specific network. In other words, if I know (or even don’t know) that my friend is on Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and a few other networks I want to be able to send 1 message that is delivered smartly to my friend, without me having to think which service to use. Of course, if I want to, I can make that choice in a simple and intuitive way. And equally, my friend Joe can set his preferences the way he wants to receive incoming messages.
  5. In relation to point 4. I want to have presence information available over all networks. That will help me interact more efficiently with my friends. So if I know that my friend Joe is on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Jaiku, Gmail, and I can see where he hangs out at the moment I might make an intelligent decision on how to contact him, or what I am sending over
  6. I want to be able to write or publish content to multiple platforms in one action. So, if I write a blog entry on my blog I might also want to publish it on Facebook or MySpace, have a tinyurl published in Twitter and send a few friends an e-mail or SMS about it
  7. In relation to point 6. If I get the same entry across multiple networks or platforms that’s hardly efficient. So some intelligence to make sure I get the message on the most convenient way would be nice (how about retracting all forms after I read one? So if I see a picture from a friend on Facebook, then I probably don’t need a twitter tinyurl or Flickr link anymore)
  8. I want to be able to follow interesting topics regardless of where the conversation is taking place. I have a tracking facility on Google Reader, Twitter and many other platform. Let’s integrate them so that I can follow ALL conversation on that specific topic (if I really want to)
  9. I want to be “on”as soon as I am connecting to the world. What do I mean by that? I want to integrate point 1-8 in my browsing experience. Not just widgets on a desktop, not just a unifying portal that I need to go to. No, when I connect to the world, it should be there with me, available when I call for it. It requires that I will be able to login automatically to any network I am part of. OpenID or anything that looks like it should be available as a standard. And personally, I would like to integrate it all into my browser so that I can explore and interact at the same time (DISCLAIMER HERE: I am involved in a (currently stealth) project that integrates cool interaction services into your web browser (more on that some other time) so I am positively biased to such solutions. Current integration on the web (take NetVibes or Facebook as examples) is not sufficient as they are essentially destination based making the destination more important than myself. And needless to say that if I am on the move I want to be connected using my mobile.
  10. I want excellent and easy to use privacy controls to go with points 1-9, allowing me to set both general privacy measures as well as per item or message control.

So how about it? Am I on the right track here or do you feel its all nonsense? Do you have other wishes? Are there services that already do what I want (and I simply have missed it?). I’m interested to hear what it is you want out of next generation services.

Anyone care to implement some of this :-)?


About vanelsas

See my about page, https://vanelsas.wordpress.com/about/ ;-)
This entry was posted in Facebook, Google, interaction, Jaiku, Mobile, myspace, social networks, Twitter, web 2.0 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to 10 ways to improve web 2.0 and move into an era of true interaction

  1. Esteban says:

    Many of your suggestions sound like Identity 2.0. I strongly encourage anyone to watch Dick Hardt’s Keynote on OSCON 2005:


    Not only a great concept, but also an outstanding presentation.

    I share many of your pints, but I still need to digest the post in order to give anything similar to a smart reply.

  2. Alexander van Elsas says:

    Esteban, thanks for the reference to Dick Hardt. I have watched his video (I have added it to this BLOG on the right, if anyone is interested) and I think an important common factor is the user centric thinking. Dick has thought of a way to solve one very important aspect of user centric thinking, how to deal with your on-line identity. I like it, and I will definitely follow his work more closely. I wonder if there are others out there working on user centric services and interaction. Anyone care to add to this?

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  5. Esteban says:

    Alexander, Dick’s work is quite impressive and he faces some huge challenges, some technical, some “psychological” (people have natural privacy concerns).

    To see at least some of your points come to life a change in the mind setting of the leaders of quite a bunch of companies. To carry over your flickr photos, Amazon wishlist, google feeds subscriptions and eBay reputation around with me would require more on the trust side than on the technology side (XML could and already does allow that to happen).
    It is going to take some time to happen and supporting OpenID enterprises can demonstrate the user’s interest.
    We could also wait until Google buys everything out there 😉

  6. AC says:

    I want all this, but I want it on my 3G, always connected, iPhone.

    I want it to be a two screen flip phone. When I open it I want my Jaiku style life stream buzzing away on the top screen. On the bottom (touch screen) I want my list of contacts with icons telling me their status. When I click on a contact I want to be taken to a facebook/jaiku style page that gives me all their latest updates – pics, video, calendar everything.

  7. Alexander van Elsas says:

    Hi AC, notice the, I want all of this on my mobile phone remark I made in the post :-). I went over that a bit fast because the mobile phone has its own challenges in terms of usability and UI. I have written a few posts about that earlier. I would love to move past the SMS barrier with the mobile phone, but right now, it is still the best interface for the masses. Even n my Nokia N95 I still have a lot of challenges making services work for me.

  8. g-bot says:

    This may be naive… but can we connect a revenue stream to this concept?

    I’m onboard with all the ideas, but what’s the incentive (besides that fact that we want it)?

  9. Alexander van Elsas says:

    G-bot, definitely not a naive question. I was only looking at the user’s perspective, but the business model that makes it possible is also very important. Any ideas on that?

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