On Aggregation

Do you remember this quote from the movie “The Incredibles”?

… And when I’m old and I’ve had my fun, I’ll sell my inventions so that *everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone’s super– [chuckles evilly]  –no one will be.

Sometimes I think that this is the end game we’re looking at with Social Media.  Right now, we’re so busy hooking every acquaintance we ever had to every other acquaintance as virally as possible on every site everywhere, that we forget who it is we’re going to end up talking to, and to whom our words have meaning.

It’s great that we’ve gotten to the point where I can broadcast a single thought simultaneously to all of my many services – but what happens when everybody does that?  What happens when the majority of the people you know are on two or more of the sites you visit and all of them are broadcasting across services? I like seeing tweets from people I know.  But when I see the tweet on twitter, then the next time I get onto Facebook the identical tweet shows up as a status update, and then I see it yet again in a weekly digest of tweets that shows up in my RSS reader from that person’s blog -  it gets old fast, and it takes away from the unique character of any one service.  As a very subjective judgement, I personally start to feel more like I’ve been spammed than confided in.

Right now, I would choose an aggregation service not for the combination of what’s different so much as the elimination of what’s redundant. As all these services bleed into each other, the ratio of new to redundant will become very pronounced;  I imagine that creative solutions to this problem will be an important future differentiator.