When Stowe Boyd says of a beta demo “it is really awesome” then you’d better pay attention. One June 19th he blogged about “Yahoo Releases New Messenger: Instant Messaging 2.0” including a few nice examples such as this one:
The single most thought-provoking demo leveraged the Amazon wishlist, and showed how Yahoo is aggressively pursuing a new vision of instant messaging. By selecting a certain person on your buddy list, the Amazon plugin follows through by displaying that person’s wishlist.
Stowe’s long-dreamed-of ‘Nerdvana’ has even been adopted as the code name for internal releases of Yahoo’s forthoming Messenger enancements. But read Stowe’s article in full to get the proper perspective.
Then on June 23rd Robin Good belted out an impressive piece on Instant Messaging 2.0,
building on taking issue with some points raised by a David Cameron posting of June 20th, which itself begins…
At the CTC conference yesterday I ran into Stowe Boyd…[from Cameron’s posting]
Hey… small world! So later on June 23rd Stowe posted his own further observations about IM 2.0 and Robin’s article, expressing concern that his (Stowe’s) stance had been both “watered down” and “unattributed”. Robin duly apologised in a followup comment to Stowe, and asked for a bit less harsh personal treatment.
Anyone reading my blog will know that I’m a huge fan of both Stowe and Robin – so I ain’t gonna mediate, other than to say “Hey – knock it off, you guys; now kiss and make up!”. But what the heck… this is blogging, right? There’s plenty of rapid-fire writing and expression of ideas: so actually there’s no battle, no bad vibes, no harsh feelings (I firmly believe)!
More significantly than the vibes, I think both Stowe and Robin have a huge amount to say with respect to the current and future landscapes of social/collaborative media. They’ve got different slants, and I think both are significant (and they’ve both been in their respective fields for a long time, so I don’t think there needs to be an issue about who said what first). In a nutshell, Stowe argues, as he has in the past, that
The buddylist — the representation of our place in a connected, online web of contacts — is the central motif of web culture, and will become a primary foundational characteristic of all successful social tools going forward…
… public instant messaging networks can now serve as the basis upon which an ecosystem of instant messaging enabled social tools can be constructed… The major IM carriers now realize their cornerstone role is different than the model they have been pursuing, and they are looking beyond ad revenue to something much more fundamental: serving as the new plumbing for a real-time, always-on, connected economy
It’s unfair to extract mere soundbytes like those above from the sophisticated arguments that these guys have been weaving for years, but the above quote from Stowe is pretty much directly to the point. Stowe feels that Robin has “watered down” his (Stowe’s) vision by emphasising the collaboration, communication, and business-centric aspects… but this is not inherently “watered down”, just a different slant.
Indeed, “collaboration and communication” are precisely what Robin writes about (Stowe writes about a broader social ecosphere, though inevitably overlapping hugely with collaboration and communication), so that slant is legitimate. Robin writes:
instant messengers [will] become hub points both for collecting and accessing critical content as well as for opening up new communication events and interactions … Web conferencing, video conferencing, co-browsing, application / desktop / screen sharing, live annotation and markup, live PowerPoint / presentation facilities, search, RSS, email, along with new forms of real-time group messaging (swarming) are all converging toward your favourite IM very, very soon.
Robin enumerates a series of specific innovations he sees coming down the highway… but it would be wrong to pigeonhole Robin as just the “collaboration/communication guy”: Robin also talks about generic presence, intelligent awareness, privacy, visual/immersive environments, and numerous other thought-provoking ideas.
So go read em both!
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