Evolving toward a People-Centric, Real-Time Web

There are plenty of reasons to consider the collaborative opinions of Chris Messina and Jyri Engstrom. Chris is a champion of the open web and leads/contributes to the DiSo Project, OpenID, OAuth, microformats, activitystrea.ms and Portable Contacts initiatives.   Jyri is the founder of Jaiku, one of the first real-time microblogging social / mobile apps acquired by Google.   Both Chris and Jyri have co-authored a post outlining their vision for the next phase of the web and describe it as a "people-centric, real-time web":

"It’s 2009, going on 2010. For the past three years, the web has been morphing into a real-time and people-centric place. We’ve seen this trend among individual users — through their actions and demands for better social experiences — but also increasingly among companies and developers. We want a web that’s more “like us” than the old model was. We want a web where people are as important to the architecture of the system as documents."

Both Chris and Jyri recently presented at Mindtrek where they outlined their perspectives on the value of taking control over our personal identity, our activity streams and social objects as the people-centric, real-time web emerges. 

Chris presented Identity is the Platform with a focus on data capital and social objects centered on our personal identity across the open web:

1. Data Capital – All the data we're creating as personal activity streams has value … and we should control access / use

2. Social Objects – Activity streams related to our "social objects" are meaningful and valuable too

Jyri presented Snack Size Sociality outlining how the battle for the people-centric, real-time web will focus on 4 important areas:  

1. People's identity
2. Activity Stream Routing
3. The Social Inbox
4. Real-time Search

I think it is valuable to consider both of Chris's and Jyri's Mindtrek presentations together as an indication of how they see the People Centric, Real-Time Web emerging.   They've pointed to key enablers that include:

Portable profiles means that instead of creating an account on each service you join, you can now host your identity in one place and bring your profile and friends with you to other sites as you surf the social web. Webfinger, OpenID, Portable Contacts, and OAuth all make this possible (and for bootstrapping profiles from the legacy document-web, we have Google’s Social Graph API).

Distributed Push Publishing means there is no longer a need to rely on proprietary platforms. The emerging standards here are PubSubHubbub (PuSH) and rssCloud (see comparisons on TheNextWeb and TechCrunch).

Synchronized Conversation Threads means that users can participate on the same conversation thread across multiple interfaces and services (we are still waiting for a standard, for which various geeks are actively devising a plan). Check out the Salmon effort as an example. 

So you might say that the people centric, real-time web will be based on a stack of building block technologies a la the DiSo Project:

– OpenID
– OAuth
– Portable Contacts / Profiles
PubSubHub / rssCloud
activitystrea.ms
Conversation Threading (example Salmon Protocol)

While it is early days in this next phase of web innovation, we'll see progress and proof points continue to emerge in the consumer space.   So let's say we see the emergence of a people centric real-time web as envisioned by Chris and Jyri.   

What might that mean for the enterprise?  

How and when will this set of building block technologies impact the enterprise space and create new value for business users?

Is it reasonable to think that the enterprise will embrace a people-centric, real-time web, when they've had a hard time embracing the social web?

PS: I'm a big fan of the opportunity and user value to be generated by "conversation threading" and have been pushing an enterprise Sensing, Threading, Sharing strategy for a while now…



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