The Live Web Will Be Federated

Under the headline 'Blogging 2.0: Moving Toward Conversational "Flows"', Bill French wrote a piece on MyST Blogsite, in which he observes that conversations on the Internet are increasingly moving away from being contained within blogs, towards being distributed among lifestreaming or micro-blogging services (Bill calls them "flow applications") such as Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.

He quotes me by saying:

"(…) Ironically, in this comment, Jos Schuurmans equate sthe emergence of social networks with the end of “channels”. (…)"

I subscribe to the view that online conversations will be less and less contained within channels, while more and more federated among and across different platforms and services. To the extent that channels can be seen as walled gardens, the emergence of the blogosphere itself was the disruption that started taking down those walls.

The point I was trying to make earlier, under 'The End of Channels?' and ''Channels' does not sufficiently describe the dynamics of distributed online conversations', is that conversations take place across and between channels, not just within, and that it is therefore less useful to think of the Web in terms of channels. As David Weinberger and Doc Searls have pointed out: the Internet is a place, not a medium.

Indeed, enablers like Jaiku, Twitter, FriendFeed,,, and Facebook are speeding up the trend of conversations being more distributed. But what these services represent most of all is the shift from a more static Web to the "live Web".

Another application worth mentioning in this context is Disqus, an enabler of blog comments federation. If Dave Winer will have his way, something similar is going to happen to micro-blogging as well… And why wouldn't he?

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