I’m working on a project right now that’s an honest-to-goodness social network. Gee, that’s what the world needs more of, you hiss. But it is different. No, really. Hope to launch by the end of the year.
Anyway, one of the things we’re grappling with is the idea of using someone’s profile as a filter for the web. It sounds simple, but it is a profound thing when you consider that my profile, say on Facebook, is the sum of the biographical info I’ve entered, the friends I have, the apps I’ve chosen, the posts I’ve made, the conversations I’m in, plus every other feed I have spliced in from around the web. It is a web snapshot of my behavior and my perspective.
Now what if you could be shown the web through this perspective? That is, what if you could filter your searching based on the lens that is my profile? Just another filter (like by file type, date, or geo) but this filter is the sum of another person’s (or group’s) outlook. Could be cool, no? Some call it social search, but it really is much more than that. And of course it is mostly conceptual at this point. Who knows if we’ll actually get it implemented.
Recently I was the guest editor contributing to the daily flow of links at Coudal Partners called Fresh Signals. It was during this month of link-harvesting that the practical application of lensing hit me. I come across hundreds of links each day, but the truth is that I was manually filtering by trying to assume the perceived perspective of the Coudal crew. I was trying to look at the web through Coudal’s eyes. It worked, mostly, though being imprecise (that is, human) the process produced links that had a flavor of my own.
Right now the best blogs are precisely this: content from all around the web manually sluiced through the personal perspective of the site author(s). This is a good thing. But you can imagine a day when a person’s perspective — such as it is online — can be easily used as just another search filter.