Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Siteless Web - Part I

This post is on a topic that I need to explore in MUCH more depth before writing a developed theory or any conclusive argument - but I wanted get my initial thoughts down for now.

I've recently been banging my head against a wall to sort out my thoughts on a set of concepts that I wanted to define as content publishing propagation and content publishing aggregation.  There's a huge movement toward these concepts, developing within the models of Posterous, Ping.fm, OpenID, OAuth, FBShare, and APIs like FBConnect and Twitter.  I'll attempt to outline my thoughts by breaking out content publishing propagation and content publishing aggregation separately, and their impact on businesses vs. individuals.

| Propogation |
I developed the working term "content publishing propagation", since I haven't yet found a definition for the concept of mass content publishing or posting or information sharing through apis (primarily apis for the time being) to numerous social platforms across the web.  I suppose people might call this "content sharing", but it is really a greater trend where bloggers, publications, corporations, and individual users want to more freely push their content to and across as many outlets on the internet as possible, that they do or don't have to manage, and may or may not have built profiles on.  

At the moment, Ping.fm and Posterous are the best-known tools for accomplishing mass content distribution.  Each of these sites enable users to distribute content from their own sites, but only to the limited number of sites that they have corresponding profiles on AND that allow them to sync with their APIs.  They also have incredibly basic tools and search features to actually organize, find, and manage large amounts of content that are posted through these sites.  FBConnect is attempting to be the centralized site so that users won't have to create dozens of different profiles across different sites, but they are sub-optimal when it comes to users distributing content from Facebook. The hope is that, at some point, optimized ways of searching for content could eliminate the need for individual site profiles.

| Aggregation |
On the flip side, content publishing aggregation is a concept of being able to easily locate and pull in all of the content that your business or you as an individual distribute across the internet.  As mentioned above, Ping and Posterous don't address these issues (and an aggregation site might not even be the last word in accomplishing this).  With this generation of incredibly active social networkers, who have varying internet profiles across multiple sites, there is a growing need to be able to aggregate all of the different content that an individual writes for different sites.  

Varying profiles on different websites will originate different content, and users should have ownership over ALL of the written content that they produce on any site - like Foursquare comments, Yelp reviews, band reviews on Last.fm, blog response comments, Tweets, Netflix ratings, Facebook posts, etc.  I became frustrated the other day because I've invested a decent amount of time into Yelp reviews and bookmarks, but can't transfer any of my data from Yelp to any of my other internet profiles, like my Posterous blog.  The same issue would arise for anyone interested in film or music who invests time in writing reviews on Movie or Music sites but can't include their reviews in personal blogs or their Facebook profile without copying and pasting them all individually.  Disqus attempts to aggregate a person's comments across different blogs but, naturally, only works with blogs using Disqus.

I am interested in this aggregation concept because I like to start profiles on almost any new site I find, but don't gain much from investing my time into writing content beyond basic personal information, unless I can transfer it to other places.  

I'm still wresting to find the most popular terms for the above 2 concepts, but I have finally come close to discovering the term for the paradigm developing from these 2 concepts.  Propagating and aggregating business and individual web presences are incorporated in what I have just discovered is a paradigm termed - the Siteless Web.

Paul Gillin, an expert in social media marketing, appears to have coined the term - Siteless Web, to mean a "headless" web and branding presence where the brand and business's content and ideas are being spread without the company's website URL acting as the driver.

My developed and comprehensive vision of the Siteless Web paradigm extends much further beyond what I am trying to define from a marketing standpoint, but it incorporates the myriad of concepts that I have, until now, been unable to assign a label.

While I still need to to discover better terms for the 2 concepts explained in this post, I plan to write more about the concept of the Siteless Web in Part II...

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