The work being done and which Messina described in his talk add some substance to my conception of a distributed and social Web which I have talked about a couple times on this blog. It also reinforces my view that the future of the social Web isn’t the next Facebook (although the current or next Facebook may well be a significant player in the future social Web), it is a layer of social interaction across the Web itself. Messina makes this point towards the end of his presentation and it is a view worth bearing in mind if you are planning some sort of social service for the Web.
It is also pretty clear that the Web is only going to become more and more social as time goes on and this could present real challenges to businesses which are comfortable with having more control over their brands and their customers’ opinions. The Web has already begun to erode the traditional control models and democratize interaction on the Web focussed on any number of topics, issues and brands. This means that companies will need to get used to a world where their customers have voices and are increasingly at home expressing those voices in more and more ways.
For users on the Web, this is a wonderful time. It is empowering, liberating and perhaps a little intimidating. We are stepping out into a much bigger space than we may have been accustomed to in the past and we are learning that expressing ourselves has consequences. Some of those consequences can be pretty far-reaching too.
If you are interested in the conversation which took place around Messina’s talk, here is an embed of the wave: