Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Architechure of Participation

Posterous These days, when I'm trying to give some meaning to the label "Web 2.0", I prefer the term "participatory media", based on Tim O'Reilly's original definition of tools defined by "an architecture of participation". "Social media" doesn't cut it - being social or obsessively collecting "friends" is not enough. Participation is key. That's the reason why Twitter is so much more valuable than LinkedIn. As to why we participate more on some sites than on others, for all that has been written, the reasons are somewhat of a mystery.

Last week when I was considering how to stimulate conversation around items that I want to share, I considered a number of solutions before settling on Posterous. Google Reader shared items does not presently permit discussion and the next obvious solution, FriendFeed, just doesn't feel right.

The more I've played with Posterous, the more I like it. But why? On the face of it, there's little difference between Posterous and Tumblr, which offers more "features". But I don't want "features, I want conversation, and for whatever reason, that's what the design of Posterous seems to promote, such as this conversation.

If I could bottle and sell the architecture of participation, I'd make a fortune. But I can't. All I can do is recognize it when I see it. And hope that they don't ruin it by adding too many "features".