The "Atomization of Conversation"
Last week I was speaking with Lawrence Hooper of Loladex and he used a phrase that's been sticking in my head. When I asked him whether people would be willing to solicit their friends to make a local recommendations via his Facebook application -- he said how he believed his site represented the continued "atomization of conversations."
It's interesting to think about -- as more applications get connected to the social graph, conversation and dialog are being atomized. If the current "geek" technologies go mainstream, you will no longer need to have a broad conversation about anything.
- Why call someone and tell them you're coming to town? They've seen it on Dopplr.
- Want to tell someone about your recent trip to England? Don't bother, they've seen the pictures on Flickr.
- No need to call me and ask whether the new movie I just saw is any good -- you've seen my review on Flickster.
- Want to know what music I'm listening to right now? -- check out iLike.
- Is someone you know suffering from an illness or injury? -- stay connected and informed (and offer support) at their Carepage.
- Did your friend just open a bottle of wine? You can stay up to date on what they like (and don't) by following their CellarTracker reviews.
- And if that didn't cover it, don't worry, you probably saw it in my Facebook Status updates or Twitter feed.
Conversations are indeed becoming atomized and asynchronous. No need for the "Hey, how are you doing?" discussion. Personal dialog is being replaced by a Mini-feed.
Pro - David Levine says it best "Atomization means conversations are more powerful and real ones have more true content."
Con - There's something special and genuine about a conversation -- the anecdotes, personality and emotion don't come across the same in a 160 character SMS message.