The Message is the Medium -- Attention is Shifting from the Web to the Stream. Wow, truly fascinating article by +Nova Spivack!! The pendulum swung from messages (pre-Web) to documents/web pages (post-Web) and now back to messages (post-Social Networking).

I have to say, there are days when the inflow of messaging is overwhelming. In my small but growing team, we are constantly striving to streamline internal systems -- wait, uhm, sorry I missed your message - where did you send it please? Skype? Text? Email? (which address?) Voicemail? Twitter DM? Facebook personal message? Facebook page message? Oh, via LinkedIn?! Ahh, you sent me a PM via a +Google+ post?! Oops! ;)

Actually, I've all but given up on my DM box on Twitter... it's my own fault for following back so many people... but with the enormous amount of auto DMs, it's rendered my DM box completely useless. I held on for five years but just in the past couple months I've had to stop checking Twitter DMs. It's either that or do a 'following purge' and I just don't want to. Also, on my Facebook fan page, I enabled the new private message box right away on Feb 29 when Facebook unveiled the new Timeline for pages... but after the box quickly filled up with over 200 requests for Facebook tech support, I disabled the feature for now until I can dedicate yet more resources to manage yet another inbox!!

Here's a quick excerpt of Nova's article. Be sure to read the full article and part II and III as well (listed at the foot).

Before the advent of the Web, the pendulum was swinging towards messaging. The center of online attention was messaging via email, chat and threaded discussions. People spent most of their online time doing things with messages. Secondarily, they spent time in documents, for example doing word-processing.

Then the Web was born and the pendulum swung rapidly from messages to documents. All of a sudden Web pages – documents – became more important than messages. During this period the Web browser became more important than the email client.

But with the growth of social media, the pendulum is swinging back from documents to messaging again.

Today, the focus of our online attention is increasingly focused towards messages, not Web pages. We are getting more messages, and more types of messages, from more apps and relationships, than ever before.
We’re not only getting social messages, we’re getting notifications messages. And they are coming to us from more places – especially from social networks, content providers, and social apps of all kinds.


Part I: The Message is the Medium:
Part II: Drowning in the Stream:
Part III: Keeping up with the Stream:
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