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The Search for YOUR Most and the Evolution of Information

I’ve played around with this post for quite some time, and while the scope of the blog will be broader, exploring all sorts of things that feel “Most”, this post is focused on how information in being funneled, particularly as that relates to one of the core principles of this very site, where we hope that MostMost will serve as one of your key information funnels. I think as you look at this post the “introduction of new technology” curve really leaps out.

A little history, or in this case we’ll start with pre-history…

Humans/their nearest relatives learn that tools are beneficial and they move up in the food chain.  The opening of 2001: A Space Odyssey always seemed to capture this moment best for me.

Fast Forward

Carving on Stone and Wood… This was really the beginning of the information age – it took considerable effort to create a message, which required the use of even more advanced tools, and the messages started out stationary (craved on a wall) and finally more mobile (e.g. papyrus).

1690 Newspapers via the Printing Press – Wikipedia says the first newspaper is credited as having come out from Boston in 1690.

1890-1920 Television & Radio are developed and launched, and we as a species entered the world of mass communication.

Circa 1995/98 the internet was still a pretty sterile place – sure you could access all kinds of information in ways that were never before available, but the web in general was entering what I guess we can now look back on and call the “Catalogue” phase where entities (business, organizations and individuals) were actively populating the web with all sorts of facts, figures and even at times falsehoods.  The reality was this information was still fairly static, and this “Catalogue” process is both ongoing and never-ending.

Of course we all know that Google became Google, and I think this is where we really began the “Sort” phase of web.  It was during this time that businesses, organizations and even more people really began to pay attention to what was happening and to really gear down in terms of trying to make money, to brand and to grow within this space.  Once things became “Sortable” more importantly there was a mechanism in place that made things considerably easier to find.  We are still feeling the impact of this phase and likely will for a long time to come as the “Search Wars” continue most recently with Microsoft & Yahoo! coming to business terms, in addition to the launch every 6 months of a new “Google Killer”.  As an adjunct to the “Sort” phase I’d say there was also a “Feed” phase where publishes began to take advantage of tools like RSS, and XML to literally feed what was once fairly static information to their consumers in ever increasing and more efficient manners.

And while the “Sort” phase is still dominant, we have now begun an interesting “Funnel” phase where a variety of businesses, groups and individuals have built from the notion of a “Catalogue”, “Sort” and “Feed” and have begun to find neat and meaningful ways of further enhance information into even more digestible bits.

Chief among these would be companies like YouTube which offered up a turnkey solution for web users to post video and further to sort content into a variety of meaningful ways based on the user’s preference (YouTube of course was purchased by Google).  Another player is Digg which crowd sources user tastes; Techmeme is a leader in one specific category of information (technology) based on a crowd source model, although they’ve recently introduced an editorial element as well.  Wikipedia is a great example of the power of the crowd except in this instance rather than encouraging a bubble effect the information this entity has elected to pursue an amoeba growth strategy where they and their audience continually both expand and refine the content base of the site.  craigslist introduced an open and free classified experience on their site which encourages people to both post and also to participate on the other side of the process as they look to procure goods and services.

The more established digital players are very attuned to this “Funnel” as well; Yahoo! has not only parsed out their News with a Most Popular section, but they have Yahoo! Buzz; Google has a variety of options to help a user find what is hot right now including Google Trends; AOL has played with Propeller.  It is also fairly commonplace for major news publication to offer up a section chronicling their most viewed/mailed/blogged stories.

As the “Funnel” process has evolved there have also sprung up very meaningful social networks like MySpace, Facebook and most recently Twitter that have taken this funnel view and rather than exclusively approach it from a broad/crowd sourced point of view, they’ve boiled down this essence to allow the individual user to create an individual funnel of their own which that user can than broadcast to their friends and even more recently onto the entire internet if they so choose.

A great example of an individual/business/organization using Twitter to funnel their message would be here at MostMost where we employ Twitter via our MostMostTweet to send out a daily blast of the Most Important stories from each of our categories – it’s a really wonderful usage of this application and you should sign up to follow us on Twitter if you haven’t done so already. 🙂

In addition there a variety of other great tools that have helped enable user find more information that is meaningful to them including site based on the preferences of the crowd like StumbleUpon, Mixx and NewsVine to name a few – these site have also been further enhanced by tools such as AddThis (used by this site) which allow publishes the ability to provide their users with easy access to these social sites.

What is the Most for one is not necessarily the Most for another, and with all these interesting tools helping to define your own personal Most the Web has become both an ever increasing necessity for users and also a much more interesting place.  Where it all leads to remains to be seen, but for now I think Most people would agree that while the internet of today is considerably more interesting the yesterday’s web, the internet of tomorrow holds even greater potential and promise.

Posted on Saturday, August 22nd, 2009 Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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