Conversations Everywhere and Nowhere

Everyone is talking about RSS/Feeds being really important for the development of Web 2.0. I myself think they are the "connectors" that will link the communities out there. However, this thought got twisted slightly this morning into a different viewpoint.

Everyone knows that subscribing to a feed is great if you want to follow a conversation. The problem I saw with this was that it is only a one way conversation. Yes, you can subscribe to the feed but you can’t interject your own thoughts into it because the feed is usually owned by someone else and it’s source is upon their site. Well, what if it wasn’t? What if anyone could contribute to a feed? What if feeds were nowhere and everywhere. What if feeds were continuous streaming conversations. What if they were the conversations about the things that we cared about that in turn make up the Web.

Now the upside to this approach is that anyone, anywhere can immediately become a part of that ongoing conversation but more importantly can change the direction of that conversation by asking their own questions. You really can’t do this on a blog. Each post is a focused conversation that is usually directed and guided by the author of the site. The downside to this approach though is how can you have reasonable conversations with the potential for so many people to be involved? Already, as seen on blogs, many people don’t even bother reading comments to a post when they get over 50 or so in number. Therefore, if feeds are streams of conversations, then how do you record the main points of what is being said, so that others can quickly join in the conversation without having to read a ton of information. Actually this is one of my pet peeves with blogs. They are great for ongoing directed conversations by the site’s author but very rarely is there something being built up or created from those conversations (i.e. a summarized useful accumulation of knowledge). There needs to be some way to gather up these small pieces of knowledge and loosely join them together into a collective knowledge base that anyone can easily access and understand.