*FANTASTIC* commentary from Eric Larson regarding the vectors of communication,
This reflects the real world in that there are times where casual conversations occur in a casual location. In other words, friends go to mall for a casual good time. At the same time though, the mall does not define the conversation as casual. What defines the communication is the tone and the subject matter. You can have conversations anywhere that are casual. What makes the determination regarding the tone of communication are those involved. Again, this means pushing the interaction and communication to occur between users instead of at a location.
Conceptually this is pretty simple stuff, but in practice it is very complicated. Users need to be able to extend their personality and persona on the web while still allowing the social barriers to be present. Users need to have the ability to reveal different sets of information that define who they are. They also need to reliably reveal private details to specific people. This needs to be simple and automatic from the user’s perspective, which is very difficult.
Really the issue is essentially how can we create systems that let people express who they are and have that persona effect their communication without forcing users to add each and every bit to the picture of who they are. It is a complex problem, but as we continue to push and pull the structure of the web, people will eventually gain the tools they need to improve communication on the web.
I should point out that Eric works with us @ 3rd&Urban, and it’s the OSS 3rd&Urban platform in which we are building and extending our Blip Messaging system. Eric has already found some killer ways to extend the Blip Messaging infrastructure, features that you will see when the platform launches on January 1st. After reading this piece, I can’t wait to see where he takes things from here! :D