• That word, accretion, it gives me the jeeblies. But a couple thoughts.

    First, what's the difference between, you know, that word, and portability. Or, from the other end, isn't portability the path or bridge to accretion. Anywhere where something that used to be two things is now one thing, or where the one is now harmonized with the other – those are the trends I'm watching.

    Disqus – which I lurve – is a baby step in this direction, creating interoperability between all kinds of blog platforms, rudimentary though it may be. Eventually, Disqus and IntenseDebate will become interoperable, etc, etc. Interwiki, another baby step. Eventually, there'll just be this one huge wiki that covers, literally, everything at scales from general overview/cocktail party talk to nano-granular, technical detail.

    If, at some point we can get our collective head out of our collective ***, we'll finally arrive at some sort of basic data standards that will allow the kind of accretion you envision, and my WAG is that it will be vaguely like iGoogle, but more dashboardy. A basic OS will support a massive array of objects (applicationy widgets? app-jects?) that users pull into the dashboard. To accrete (ooh, the verb gives spellcheck the jeeblies), those objects would have to have substantial interoperability so items (sub-objects) could move from one app-ject to another. From the user's perspective, it's just this single control surface that contains all their stuff. Note: It's a WAG.

    Second, on the value of real time, I'm not so into the when as the who and the what. In this, Twitter is my meta-model. I really don't care at all about US sports game or something called Shaq, so the fact that it's a real time trend has zero value for me. Put another way, simply knowing what everybody is saying RIGHT NOW, doesn't necessarily have value. What if they're all idiots?

    For me, Twitter's proto-real time benefits are: immediate awareness of events globally, and insight into the minds and lives of a small but wikkit smaat group of people, again global in nature. Add to this the ability to manipulate data objects and collaborate in real time (wave), and I'll be in hog heaven!

    I question the validity of accreted data for, say, playing the markets. I'm deeply dubious of the “prediction markets” predictive ability. In fact, they are entirely reactive to events and the flow of information. Parse the Dems presidential primary last cycle to see how entirely clever the predictors were. Early money on Hillary went up in smoke. The wisdom of crowds is: people only know what they know – and the future ain't part of it.

    So part of the value of now – or the everlasting now – in real time is that it speeds up awareness of events or flattens the awareness curve. When that plane went down in the Hudson, what non-eye-witnesses knew first? You, me and the Twitterverse. And most of us gained awareness in 1 – 2 minutes. I'm not really sure what the value is, except that I like it a lot and always want to know immediately when stuff happens and to learn about it from regular people who are right there.

    Wow. That's some serious rambling. Well, waddaywant? You asked.


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