Future of Web Apps (London) – Highlights & Themes

Moo Presentation at FOWA

Continuing in the theme of hanging out with geeks* I spent a couple of days at the Future of Web Apps conference this week. It wasn’t as fun as BarCamp, but it was interesting.

Here’s some of the things that got my brain ticking (or that entertained me) throughout the two days. (Warning – it’s a rather long post):

YouTube’s success is not to do with User Generated Content, it’s about watching TV online (IPTV). Almost all the top viewed videos includes copyrighted material (TV shows, music videos etc).

Michael Arrington was talking mostly about the formula for a winning startup, but I thought this passing comment on YouTube was interesting. I’d not thought about it that way before. Makes total sense. (It made even more sense when Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo showed his chimp video later in the conference as an example of the best of UGC.)

‘There are websites I now visit just so that people know I’ve been there’

Arrington again, this time talking about MyBlogLog. I’ve always sort of gotten the vanity aspect of MyBlogLog, but I’ve never thought of it so politically! Personally, I tend to find it somewhat surprising, in a disturbing way, when I go to someone’s website only to see my own noggin staring back at me!

Again, as an interesting counterpoint to Arrington, Yahoo’s Horowitz spoke more about MyBlogLog and the role it plays in ‘turning users into neighbours’. Making each member of a blog’s audience more visible to one another, and how that can in turn promote a sense of community around a blog (and I am thinking that it actually provides readers with some potentially interesting information they can use in evaluating a blog too….).

So, that’s peaked my interest in MyBlogLog a little more… to the point that I’ve finally given in and put their little widget in my sidebar. It’s an experiment. If you have opinions, I’d be interested to hear them. (Except for opinions on the pink. It’s a phase, you’re going to have to deal with it or stick to RSS! :) )

Community has been a key promise of the web since the beginning (Edwin Aoki, AOL)

Community or the social web was a continuing theme throughout many of the presentations at FOWA, the centrepiece of which was Tara Hunt’s presentation early on day one.

Tara opened with a nice definition of online community care of Lee & Vogel (2003) which was more or less ‘generating member driven content resulting in relationships’. I also liked her definition of the three ‘Levels of Engagement’ which were Lightweight Social Processes (a la Digg, Last.FM), Collaborative Information Structures (a la Flickr, Threadless, YouTube ) and High End Collaboration (a la Wikipedia, Open Source projects, CouchSurfing). Continue reading

links for 23 February 2007 – Semantics, semantics and tags.