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Communications Underload: Stowe Boyd

Stowe's talk is great.  The first part is a dissection of Continuous Partial Attention.  I happen to be in the camp that says that CPA is a disease, but Stowe argues persuasively that it's the new model for communications and business.

In the second half he begins by saying that the buddy list is the center of the new universe.  Social networks are key — the individual is the new group, and the value is not in the number of people in the network, but rather the number of connections.  Bingo!  It's the same logic Google uses to rank web pages.  More links equate to more authority.

We are at tthe Dawn of the Social Age. CPA is a built in aspect.  Ignore it at your peril.

The web is the new "Third Place", replacing the pub, the coffee shop, and the cracker barrel.  Tools that help us to master and exploit the social connectedness of the web are critical.  In fact, the web is taking us back to the social connectedness of yesteryear, and away from the mass television culture which dominated society for the latter part of the twentieth century.

Traffic and flow are the future of applications.  Social applications enable communications, and the various bits that we throw into the ether will be picked up by other apps and aggregated into a single time-stamped thread.  "This lines up with the social adaptions we're making". 

Conversation flows through networks — it equals traffic.  Media is just the pieces of the conversation, but not the sense.  To understand the conversation, you have to be in the flow.

Stowe argues that flow is the means for deciding what is important.  RSS readers should expose what others think is important too.  Yes, and no.  It's valuable to know what others are reading, but if that happens at the expense of not being exposed to new ideas… well… that's a large sacrifice in my opinion. 

Flow strategies:

  • Time is a shared space.
  • Productivity is second to Connection:  network productivity trumps personal productivity.
  • Everything important will find its way to you many, many times: don't worry if you miss it.
  • Remain in your flow: be wrapped up in the thing that has captured your attention.

Delete the email you haven't read.  If it's important, people will send it again

Great stuff.

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