Friday, July 28, 2006

BlogHer Lunch Keynote: What's Next?

Evolution of Flickr and Blogger

Both spin-off's from other projects. Flickr spin-off from social networking game. Blogger spin off from project management software.

What differentiates Flickr from Ofoto or Shutterfly? Public access. 80% of photos on Flickr are public. It's what creates community.

Inventing Flickr and Blogger is like the invention of electricity. It's up to the user to apply it in a meaningful way.

How has tagging catalyzed communication? Tagging originally just a way of organizing photos, but when applied to social interactions it becomes more dynamic, impactful. Tagging is not keywords. Keywords were not used in a social context. They are generic. For example, if you typed a proper name like "Betty" you are going to get all photos associated with the WORD 'Betty'. Tagging allows the user to give context. By tagging you can have the tag 'Betty' return photos of only your Aunt Betty.

Also have the ability to formulate ad hoc groups. We can assume people would people would tag with 'black and white photos' or 'color photos', but there are people organizing 'squared circle' images. No way of anticipating these keyword of sorts, but there are people that share this common interest.

Blogging is primarily text. Where will video and audio take blogs? Unknown. Ability to tag and comment photos allows for a greater variety of uses a user could apply the technology. Time will tell.

Online communities are like a dinner party. Every user should be greeted and introduced to culture, activities. After the beginning the users you hand nurtured will recognize that its part of the community. They will do the introductions and enforce the cultural norms.

"Community management" as an evolving role in building large communities. Comment spamming ('sploggers') and trolling can become a problem and the person that acts as the "community manager". They can give a development team heads up on what to guard from. "It's an arms race..."

Will legislation limit the development directions of social networks technologies?

Development of Flickr happened semi-live with assistance of users. "Developing in stealth" has gone out of fashion a bit. Public development is likely to be more fruitful at this point in history.

Blogger developer's insight: If you try to anticipate all trends and potential hazards you'd never get past the specs.

"Beta is your friend"

What's next?
- better management of text, video and audio
- help user to be more self-referential
- we won't need our pc's anymore; mobility


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