Posted by: rubberhawk | April 19, 2009

Channel Creep

Everything you see online these days is all about communication. Bebo, Facebook, MSN, Digg, Gmail, even Wikipedia if you think about it. Its all about who you can talk to and how quickly you can get your message out there. When developing a project many people worry about something called “creeping featurism”. You make something, then you realise, you can add this feature, then you add another one. Word 1.0 had about 100 commands. Word 2007 has some 1,500. And your letter to your grandmother still looks exactly the same as it did back then.

The same thing seems to be happening to the internet. If every site is becoming an application, a window you leave open when you logon just because then really the site is like a feature of the internet. On a regular basis I find myself opening up a number of tabs and just leaving them there, My gmail, twitter and facebook pages are open as we speak. Each one is basically just a channel of communication to a group of people. Each one varies slightly in who it reaches and how. Each one has its own merits and drawbacks. Depending on my level of boredom and what I’m avoiding doing I’ll spend varying amounts of time with each one. This is like creeping featurism but with communication, a sort of channel creep across the internet. As a new channel of communication opens up and becomes mainstream, it seems it eventually just turns into another way of ignoring people. In the interest of saving myself from an endless cycle of updating each site I’ve done what a lot of other people have done and tried to streamline how I publsh information online.

This is why I think twitter shines. Ironically, by being the most basic of communication platforms online it is also the most highly adaptable. No matter where you are online it can plug into almost any other site so I don’t have to. By posting 140 characters onto twitter, I also post the same message onto Bebo, facebook, all my IM accounts and my blog at the same time. At the same time, it also advertises itself on all these services in some way. Twitter helps me cross all the channel creep of the modern internet and bring it all together. The only problem that remains is how can twitter make money from this business model?

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