Monday, August 13, 2007

chat central

Commenting on Noah Brier's Facebook discussion reminded me of a thought I had recently. There's a growing number of online content providers that allow viewers to interact around the content. I.e. Joost viewers can chat about the shows they're watching together. This is a no-brainer. It ensures that no experience cuts its user off from possible 'live' interaction - but even more: that the piece of content becomes the focal point for interaction.

My suggestion on Noah's blog was that the next evolutionary step for a 'social network' that wants to be the centre of its users' universe would be to create a web browser so ALL online activity was initiated within the community.

I love the idea of flipping things around. Instead of creating content around which people could chat, we build a dynamic chatting application that could connect to any content.

We've all experienced IM-ing a friend whilst browsing the web; posting URLs backwards and forwards etc. But why should the chat window be isolated from the rest of your experience? If not a browser then what about a simple, dynamic chat portal where right-clicking on any link, picture or quote could share the snapshot instantly with a friend at the same time as opening a pop-up chat-window. The conversation follows the content - not the other way around. Seems crazy that an IM app hasn't tried to evolve into a browser already.

Is there anything like this out there? Am I enough of a geek to think of this but not enough of a geek to have spotted a flaw in this concept?

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