John at Freshblog writes some pensive reflection about where blogs and aggregation might be heading in the future, largely revolving about the conversation around ideas, and more or less tightly woven topic nets, throughout the web. I have dipped my toes into a slew of smaller scale conversation leveraging networks of various sorts, and my own take is that much of what drives these hubs is the interpersonal plethora of feelings, closeness, kinship and other more heart than mind bonds, that build strong, often lasting structures for communicational flow.
Whatever we are approaching, I am certain of only one thing: it will be interesting. Whether it's a sudden landslide or a light trickling is anyone's guess, but I would not be very surprised finding Google somewhere close to where it happens. Parts of it will be technology, and parts of it can never be. The tech parts we can largely bring in on the table, hack at, and come up with ourselves, if we set our minds on it, and the rest is much left to randomness and the very socially apt few who build with minds what engineers build with matter or science. I find both sides equally fascinating, though confess to habitually rather looking in on the scene from the mad scientists' quarters than from other perspectives.
My guess on what lies ahead is we will be seeing increasing cross-pollination between communications systems of diverse natures, bringing IM clients and protocols like Jabber closer to email, news, blog comment posts and the slow but steady flow of blog entries, making a more natural and tangible connection between the different paces, persistence and connectedness. While different media with different rules, limitations and possibilities, they all have human and our needs as a common denominator, and I can't see why they have to remain as often rigidly separated as they are today.
This post can be read very differently. It can -- and not unjustly so -- be found very thin hot air and lofty waving of hands, or rather as very intriguing thoughts and prospects indeed. Again, I sit in both camps, though I can't as easily pick one over the other. I'm immensely fascinated by the possibilities, and equally sceptical about architectural astronauts, or their counterpart in not-strictly-tech hype.
I find it very pleasing to know I can take part in this development and add whatever comes to mind from a small corner of my own part of the web, though. In part because I have witnessed it first hand, when a rather driving friend of mine decided that the state of mp3 metadata was horrible in the days of ID3 (v1, and 1.1 for that matter) and did something about it (and it didn't end up very good, though it changed things, which was lesson enough for me). The feeling of knowing you can do something to bring about change for the better goes a long way when it comes to building our tomorrow, and all the tiny bits that come together in forming it. And let's have lots of fun in doing it, too.