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Sunday, February 13, 2005

Personalisation And Social Software

SusanMernit writes, Yahoo's potential to own a huge piece of the blogosphere via distribution, tool sets and content acquisition is well known to all.Yahoo has blended personalization and RSS to form the most widely used aggregator on the planet. Vast majority of traffic goes through a handful of portals (and an oligopoly of carriers) and mainstream attention follows the power-law. Most users do not enjoy the diversity or serendipity that blog readers do. Blog writers who want to make impressionistic returns will feed off of major portals.
Personalization is supposed to be the answer for how industrial era print media evolves into the information age. A shift from media companies broadcasting to the world to the media With search, you narrowcast what you are looking for and get ads that supposedly could be helpful along the way. For now, there is no memory of your queries and profiling for others, but it will happen as a personalized search is a useful engine.
Corporate personalization is also a bargain of consummate efficiency. The value proposition of enterprises portals is reducing the time spent looking for information..the criticisms of personalization as an instrument of control are not new. Yahoo! is actually taking personalization into new directions by emphasizing user programmability. But its important to realize that Personalization is not a world of ends and the means of the trend ensnare us just as before. Very shortly,every major portal will have personalized aggregation of RSS. Older media will apply traditional editorship to suggest the best feeds according to expert judgment. Newer media will suggest feeds based on what we like. Both approaches will provide limited differentiation, but even more limited utility - because finding feeds is not a significant problem when most posts in a feed provide their links
A corporate portal may provide information required for process, but will fail to inform decisions when exceptions happen and hinder my ability to form relationships that help resolve them. Worse, without a diversity of input and the socialization of information, saving time looking for information is pointless when the information isn't shared in the first place. The basic problem with Personalization is that tailoring information to you limits social discovery. Users contribute value to the database only for them and the service provider, not for each other. People design algorithms outside social context, and error arises in profiling, categorization and filtering. Narrowcasting creates micro-silos as it limits a user's view from more diverse and otherwise peripheral information compared to modes of browsing and searching.
By contrast, social software enables people to create their own networks. Groups form, information is shared and implicit and explicit relationships are fostered. Profiles, ties, posts, links and tags provide dimensions to explore. Spam happens as a consequence of openness, but as social networks become the new filters, it is a minor problem and yields benefits of connecting people. The appeal of personalization is sheer convenience. Today social software fails, with a few exceptions, to deliver the same level of convenience at scale, but give it time, concludes the article.
Unfortunately not right – as user wants things that work – personalization has improved on multiple dimensions over a period of time and is almost steadily available as against a wish in the case of social software.

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