The Personal rEvolution

“Think Outside”, © Steve McLoughlin

.me is the new .com

It’s all about You. Pretty cool eh? Welcome to The Personalized Web.

Let me give you a little example of what this new stage in the evolution of global communications is all about, and how it differs from those of the recent past.

Enter Jack. Enter Jill.

A long time ago, before Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet on one of Steve Jobs’ early products (the NeXTStep), Jack and Jill went up hills to fetch pails of water. This kinda sucked. As you can imagine, it was a lot of work lugging around heavy pails and, often, the well they went to was either dry, or had some kind of problem with it that prevented them from fetching water (busted rope, contaminated agua, bandits who would extract tolls etc.)

Now Jack and Jill, being two smart cookies, would try to gather as much information as they could from friends, the news etc., in order to avoid the misfortune of arriving on a hill without water, or with “complications”; but, sometimes, things just didn’t work out. Then, one day, the internet happened on personal computers. Whoa. Now, instead of having to collect information from a bunch of different physical sources, Jack and Jill just searched the Web to see which wells were good, and which ones deserved a wide berth. Pails of water went up, and tiredness plus bandit-muggings went down.

Soon, however, things began to get a little dicey. Lots of the “good” hills Jack and Jill went up turned out to be bad, or were surrounded by brigands who demanded payment for their water. Clearly, some of the sources they had searched were wrong, out of date, or had been written by the bad guys themselves (or the marketing firms hired by the bad guys). What were they to do? Enter the social network: blogs, chat, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – the list really does go on. Now Jack and Jill, connected virtually to more trusted sources of information – their friends and people they respected – just asked everyone which hills they were going up to fetch their pails of water. Pails went up, “complications” went down.

Alas, problems sprang up once more. Jack and Jill were connected to so many different information flows that they became overwhelmed by facts & figures, and instruction & advice; they couldn’t keep up with the changing situations on top of hills, and began to fall prey to the same things as before. What they really needed was some way to sift through the vast amounts of irrelevant information on the Web, and connect them directly to their most trusted sources of data, advice, and maybe a few more they had never heard about.

Today, the solution to their latest issue is being developed. In companies like Gravity, my6sense, Quora and Xydo, technology is rolling out that customizes your information and communication experiences. Social and info feeds are aggregated, advice from trusted friends, and articles from trafficked sources are combined, streamlined and delivered to each person, based on his or her unique profile of interests.

.me is the domain-expression of this new personalized web reality, and there are four reasons why it will beat out the dozens of its competitors for the new top spot.

#1 Versatility (human readability): With .com’s you could write a noun – most likely your name – .me’s allow you to make a statement ex: follow.me

#2 Availability: The number of 2 word statements existing in the world is several times larger than the number of existant nouns.

#3 Relevance: .co, .ly, .gen.in. What do these endings all have in common? Nothing with what I’m looking for. With .com, users were looking for companies, services, business. With .me, people are looking to fill their own wants and needs.

#4 Traustr: You know that feeling you get, when you meet someone who you know you can trust implicitly? That’s traustr. The word itself is Old Norse meaning “strong”, and it’s the etymological foundation for the modern meaning of ‘trust’ – .me has traustr.

A little proof goes a long way, and although there’s not quite any formal data gathered on this yet, consider the following:

About.me – founded by True Ventures founder Tony Conrad, and sold to Aol. 4 days after launch.

Move.me – a new project launched by Sony, that lets people develop Playstation Move applications for non-commercial use “academia, research and the like.” (interesting to note that Sony doesn’t yet own the domain)

Formspring.me – allows people to find out more about each other by sharing interesting and personal responses. Invested in by Travis Kalanick, co-founder of the world’s first p2p search engine (for which he obtained the dubious distinction of having being sued for $250 billion).

Flavors.me – make a custom homepage in minutes.

Dscover.me – personalize your web browsing experience by following experts on a specific topic, or just friends to see what they’re up to.

At this point, I could go on, but I’d rather nap – so, to wrap up. The first wave of the Web was commercial. Companies got on and advertised their stuff to people who were willing to buy, and actively searching them out. This next wave is personal. People who get on the net want to have experiences and services crafted exclusively for them. This new evolution in communication needs a corresponding stretch of real estate to sit on. That’s .me

One response to this post.

  1. [...] what I’m really interested in, is how we will change it. In one of my previous posts – The Personal rEvolution – I wrote about dynamic filters being created, which personalize this stream of content for [...]

    Reply

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