Where are the signals about signals?

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Apr 282011

One of my staff just got back from O’Reilly’s Where2.0 in Santa Clara. I wish I had gone, but . . . (So much to do, so little time.)

The interesting things that he brought back would fill the back of a half-ton truck easily. Exciting things like Facebook’s new coupon service that’s going to (probably) hammer Groupon. But in and among the tidbits of information a few ideas and words kept coming back like the leitmotif of the industry.

“Context” — seems we’ve moved passed the contextual web and into the contextual mobile web.  Who would have ever thought that the geographic context would be relevant in a Web/mobile world? (Hint:  I come to my mind.)

“Intent” — this one is hardly specific to the mobile/geo-location world, but its prominence is insightful.  Essentially we’re talking about understanding the the current inforamtion and/or data by means of not only the context, but the actor’s (perceived) intention.  In this case we’re probably talking about actual direction and . . .

“Velocity” — we’re interested in the speed, pace, and differentials of what’s happening. Buzz indexes had some prototypical stuff about velocity implicit in their models, and information cascades develop in no small part because of the velocity of information movement. Here it’s likely the actual physical movement velocity, but it applies to information, etc. equally well.

“Signals” — finally there is recognition that most of the information that is being generated is nothing but the ever-growing noise in the background. Real information is only in a few signals that have to be decoded. It’s about time.

These, particularly the last, caught my attention, because of the book I’m releasing next month which started its life with the working title, “Signals and Noise.” It’s now called The Spaces In Between, and much of this type of thinking forms the foundation for it.

Very interesting.