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Monday, 18 May 2009

Why @tags will not be the next email

I am still thinking about using @tags as a web wide communication tool. As I was discussing this concept with a VC, the immediate reaction from him was: 'so, this is just like email, but done with @tags rather than email address'.

I didn't gave him a satisfactory reply then but after thinking it through, @tags are definitely different from email.

Distributed vs centralised
Email communication is confined to a destination. If you think about it, that is like the web portal strategy of the 90s. Since everything is going distributed, why can't targeted communication like email be so? @tags may have the highest chance of becoming the default standard to point to people if Twitter continues to become grow.
Open vs Closed
If @tags are distributed, it also means they are more open. This leaves room for third party to start building useful interfaces that helps us organise our soical conversations. Email innovations are few and far in between because it is closed. Innovations cannot happen freely. If @tags opens up the targeted communication channel, we might see more experiments to solve our problems in communication overload (although distributed systems themselves have a tendency to attract more spam and irrelevant comments).