The way we consume information online is changing rapidly. If there were web sites that we wanted to share with our friends, we would e-mail the links to them. Any discussions happened after the fact through e-mail threads and were out of context.
Jeremiah Owyang talks about the future of the social web being five phases. Phase 3: The Era of Social Colonization he said would start in 2009 and would reach maturity in 2011. Some of the highlights of the Era of Social Colonization include:
websites become social experiences, even if they don’t want to
decisions made with the help of friends
companies will need to focus on influencers
We are starting to see this social web era beginning now with the introduction of very interesting tools. Before I talk about some of the tools, I wanted to talk about why this will happen – the tools are irrelevant.
Just like the photo of the surfers implies, we are social creatures. We go to the game together, we read together in book clubs, girls shop together, heck they even go to the bathroom together – or so the movies stereotype. The fact is: humans are social, we crave the social interactions. Why then wouldn’t we want these interactions to take place where we are spending more and more of our time – online. Well in fact we do. That’s why Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. are growing so rapidly. All of these social networks, thus far, fall short in two areas – they are ‘closed gated’ social communities and are out of context with the rest of the web.
We can now surf the web together. As Jeremiah predicted, we are seeing the introducing of social colonization with tools such as:
Depending on how these (and similar tools) are implemented, I strongly believe that this has the potential at evolving our experience online. You may have heard about Twitter back channel discussions during presentations. Can you imagine your website visitors being able to have similar back channel discussions in an overlay of your website.
I still believe Social Colonization is in its infancy. This was demonstrated to me when I installed Google Sidewiki and reviewed some large websites in Canada and no comments have been added with Sidewiki. BTW, if you want to leave a comment with Google Sidewiki, I started an owner’s entry. Why don’t you be the first visitor entry.