At the Next Web conference there was an overall urge for relevancy. You noticed it in presentations and startups. Unfortunately there weren’t many speakers that had exiting answers. In his presentation Robert Scoble made clear that for most new web applications ‘The first experience sucks‘.
This is inherent to how these new web applications work. The webservices that are doing something new are often ‘connected‘ applications. Websites and widgets connect information and people resulting in a new collections and new relevancy. This relevancy will only show itself when using the service for a while. Which is – of course – difficult to explain to a user when he or she signs up.
This is a user experience problem, but not one we will not find a solution for. The friendfinder button in most new web services enables you to import your Gmail contacts or another social network. Most applications are doing something similar to a service that already exists, with the open web (API’s and feeds) technology should be able to suggest a personal social profile before you start.
When information gets fragmented
What’s more interesting about this is what this search for relevancy really means. The web was always used similar to previous media. We made pages and domains on the web. Information was reserved for one place and relevancy was made by the website editor. This can be a news website or a blog.
Now the web is evolving in something that goes beyond what we are used to. Everything gets fragmented, distributed and aggregated. Information (text, photos and video) transfer from one online place to another. Information gets distributed and duplicated. The collection made by the creator is getting less relevant.
The distributed future of this blog post
For example this blog post is distributed through RSS and it will be picked up by a dozen of spam blog that will all duplicate the entire text and distribute it again. All these blogs are indexed over and over by aggregators like Google or any other. This blog post is written in the context of my blog, but most people will probably read it in another context. Specialized companies trace discussions about brands on the web and redistribute relevant articles. Social networks are crawling the web to show articles that are personal relevant to your profile (LinkedIn).
Data is made to be duplicated
The incredible amount of fragmented information is what makes the web interesting. New social recommendation tools, networks, online friends, aggregators, feeds and widgets are breaking the web apart. This is what makes the web really exiting and work like a network.
This is difficult to understand and use by publishers, copyright lawyers and designers but more relevant for the user. The reader doesn’t care what blog or website presents a good article or where they read it, as long as they can read it. The most important value is the relevancy of the presenter, this can be a system or your friend.