Stowe Boyd: Our Mosaic Social Web

Apps are the tiles of the new mosaic, our composite life on line.

And Google+ is a deft straddle, with one foot in the old world and the other in the new. Google+ is currently a browser based system, but it is relatively easy to imagine the core functionality implemented in a next generation Android, and all the tools running as apps on top. Circles and Hangouts accessed as complementary apps, along with dozens or hundreds of others, built by Google or a growing ecology of developers.

Of course, Apple will respond in kind, and is perhaps a step or two ahead with its Twitter partnership, and its plan to integrate Twitter into iOS 5. So we can expect a similar flowering of iOS 5 apps that build on a core of social capabilities, and that will allow app developers to leverage profiles, following, streams, and other foundational social componentry at the OS level.

By lowering the core elements of sociality into the infrastructure, Google and Apple will be setting the stage for a new generation of app development, and therefore, user experience. Which will mean an acceleration of the transition for us, as users, from monolith to mosaic.

I find myself agreeing a lot with Boyd’s impressions of Google+, particularly as I wrote a few days ago about resisting the desire to create what he describes as monolithic platforms.

‪tibbr 3.0 Launch‬‏

I’ve spent a lot of time recently with the TIBCO team in Australia and like Dennis Howlett, I think tibbr has a lot to offer. Its really easy to get excited about tools from companies with a strong Web 2.0 heritage, but on the other hand tibbr shows that enterprise capabilities are also valuable as our approach and understanding of social business matures – its not about socialising, but about putting people back into the equation. tibbr shows the potential for combining systems of engagement with systems of record. I know my matrix here, resonated well with the tibbr team when I explained it. BTW If you don’t have time to watch the 30+ minute launch video, see the list of new features in the latest iteration of tibbr here.

Social intranets have crossed the chasm

In 2008, any company with a social intranet had taken an innovative step out in front of the crowd. But in 2009 and 2010 we saw the social intranet market shifting from “early adopters” to those in the “early majority,” indicating the classic progression of the technology adoption lifecycle, which Geoffrey Moore popularized in his book Crossing the Chasm.

Today a new intranet that isn’t fundamentally social feels awkwardly out-of-date, like mobile flip phones that don’t have touch screens, internet access and QWERTY keyboards. What was still innovative in the intranet world two years ago is simply expected today and intranet managers are struggling to keep up.

… and this comment is in the context of a recent award winning intranet.

Do we really want a homogeneous social Web?

According to numbers dug up by Mashable, microblogging newcomer Tumblr has just surpassed the 20.7 million blogs hosted by WordPress–explosive growth since it only hosted around 7 million blogs as recently as January. Exponential growth like this means it’s probably just the beginning of many record-breaking events.

Fast Company writer, Kit Eaton, sees competition between the growing community on Tumblr and other popular services like and Twitter.

I’m always slightly bemused about the drive towards creating single dominant social platforms on the Web, with a single prescribed method of sharing. Just look inside companies and you’ll see the cost of homogeneous information systems.

I’m glad that Tumblr is growing, but this short form, visual-orientated style of blogging (what you might recall was once also called “microblogging”) is just one option. For example, there are other fantastic communities, like Pinterest, that draw on creative content from across the Web regardless of the platform. Should Pinterest be more like Tumblr?

And lets put Tumblr’s in growth in perspective: Facebook has more than 500 million active users (actually, its higher… basically its big. Really big). If that’s the case, isn’t this the real competition?

Shoot first, focus later


Truly revolutionary… its not often a technology comes along that completely changes how we do something.


The team at Lytro is completing the job of a century’s worth of theory and exploration about light fields. Lytro’s engineers and scientists have taken light fields out of the lab – miniaturizing a roomful of cameras tethered to a supercomputer and making it fit in your pocket

As the demo pictures show (you’ll need to click through to the site for this to work), you can literally shoot first, focus later. For an overview, see Wikipedia’s entry on Plenoptic cameras.

Hat tip MIT’s Technology Review.