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Sunday, 12 April 2009

4 ideas for empowering fans

The most effective web API is still the link. Simple and powerful

This summarises very nicely what I have written about the importance of links to next generation web. It is the most simple and most wide spread API that majority of Web users knows how to use. With such wide penetration, isn't it time for us to fully extend its capabilities?

One of the most fruitful areas is to enable links as the foundation of which to
rethink fans from consumers to distributors, empower fans to spread AND sell content, viral marketing AND viral distribution.

How shall we begin? These are my 4 principles that I am thinking about:

We need a tumblr for media links
Tumblr made posting different media a breeze. Be it image, videos, text etc, they made it dead simple to post and more importantly, to turn up beautiful. We need the same thing for links. A bit.ly that has different tabs to accommodate different media types. The functions of each link can then be different. This is to create the most effective links that leverages on each media's unique characteristics.

We need to make such a service widely distributed
Once we have figure out how to do the above, we need to turn this service into a dumb pipe. Let anyone be able to tap into the service and built different interfaces for different platforms, be it blogs, social networks, mobile applications et al.

We need to decentralise the organising principles
Beyond enabling link creation and distribution, we need to enable consumers to employ some organising principles to better allocate the attention of their social network. These principles must surface the most relevant and interesting links. If we can allow users to decide how to surface these recommendations, then we are in effect creating masses of attention allocators as well.

We need to ride the collaboration curve
With a distributed network of fans in place, the final thing to consider is how to upgrade of the entire network so that each fan becomes better at what he/she does. This is the collaboration curve that John Hagel and company talked about. Corporating this into the network is what will scale the entire model to new heights.