Digital strategy and communications

Every now and then I’m asked what I think the latest trends or the future of the web might be. Often depending on what I’m thinking about or researching that week will depend on the answer that I give.

So what’s the answer at the moment?
As some of you will have noticed over the last few weeks I’ve been experimenting with quite a number of new tools and services, to see what they’ll do. I’ve mentioned a few already such as ifttt and wajam, but I’ve also been experimenting with Chirp Story – which enables you to create stories with Tweets – and begun to have a look at Bundlr – a service that enables you to bring (bundle) content from across the social web together into one page.

Whilst each offers a different service they all have a unifying factor, they’re like glue. Yes that’s right, glue. The sticky stuff that fixes things together.

Each of these services, and other recent services such as Disqus and Storify allow pieces of the web to be brought back together again.

Take Disqus. Disqus describes itself as:

a comments platform that helps you build an active community from your website’s audience. It has awesome features, powerful tools, and it’s easy to install.

Which actually doesn’t tell you very much. And its Features Tour, doesn’t really enlighten either. Yet, what Disqus magically enables is for readers to comment on your blog posts where they’re most comfortable, where their community congregates, be it on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. It then glues those comments back together underneath your original post. Granted, this can sometimes lose context, but you get my point.

Similarly today, when I randomly decided to run a competition to win a t-shirt on Twitter just for fun, I used Chirp Story to bring it all together afterwards, using only the relevant posts from me, the hashtag I used (#technojam) and the replies and conversations that occurred around the competition. Were I to be using rather than I could then embed the final result here. Storify does something very similar.

Ifttt allows you to glue some really discreet parts of the social web together, rather than simply connecting two different social media accounts together you can be more precise. For example, this week I’ve experimented with connecting my Facebook Page Links together with this blog. Only links that I post directly onto my Facebook Page will appear as individual posts on the blog. And using ifttt I was able to describe and change how they appeared with quite a lot of detail. See this post as an example.

I don’t think I’m going to keep that particular ifttt task continuing as this blog isn’t about simply linking to things, as a reader Miles Campbell reminded me:
Twitter comment from Miles Campbell

Which is well worth remembering for all these services. Whilst the latest tools help us glue the social web back together and can sometimes seem really exciting, we should remember what makes social media tick in the first place: people.

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