Will Conversations Converge?

by Jay Deragon on 03/17/2008

Will Conversations Converge?A conversation is communication by two or more people often on a particular topic. Conversations are the ideal form of communication in some respects, since they allow people with different views of a topic to learn from each other.

Those engaging in conversation naturally relate the other persons statement to themselves, and insert themselves (or some degree of relation to themselves, ranging from the replier’s opinions or points to actual stories about themselves) into their replies. A successful conversation includes mutually interesting connections between the parties or things that the parties know. For this to happen, those engaging in conversation must find a topic on which they both can relate to in some sense.

Today’s social web provides a library of topics for anyone anywhere to relate to and subsequently engage in the related conversations.

Just How “Engaging” are the Conversations?

Today’s social web provide the means for people to engage in streams of conversations about anything and everything, one to one to millions. People engage in different ways whether it be simply reading a post or watching a video which stimulates thoughts and opinions expressed or not. Others engage by responding to a post or video with commentary and in some forms people take the time to vote on the relevancy or quality of the conversation which tends to attract others to the conversation.

Some conversations get referenced within post as new conversations are spawned for the original thought or commentary. The conversations multiply throughout the biggest copy machine in the world, the web. Our conversations have become digital and given the constant advancement of digital technology our conversational reach goes beyond comprehension.
Are We In a “New System of Conversations”?

If we define “conversational engagement” as a digital “bio-system”. Digital Conversations consist of a four stage “bio-system”:

  1. Create – Consisting of the preliminary creation and refining of the Digital Conversation including its front end
  2. Interact – Whereby consumers engage with the Digital Conversation
  3. Understand – The usage data of every consumer engaged with a Conversation is automatically stored and aggregated and can be viewed quickly and easily
  4. Adapt – This usage data may lead to changes to the Digital Conversation which are reflected in real time across all channels (as the Conversation is called from one source no matter what the medium accessing it).

The current system of conversational engagement is contained within millions of conversational silos or digital wrappers i.e. Yahoo Forums, Social Networking Platforms, YouTube, Google Readers, Twitter etc. etc.

Just How Active are the Conversations within these Silos?

A December 2007 Comscore report revealed that U.S. Internet users watched more than 10 billion videos online during the month, representing the single heaviest month for online video consumption since comScore initiated its tracking service. MySpace.com is now processing 2.2 Billion page views per day. MySpace.com handles 3.3 million concurrent users during the day. Facebook has more than 67 million active users. Facebook has an average of 250,000 new registrations per day since Jan. 2007. Facebook has more than 65 billion page views per month. Facebook has more than half of active users return daily. People spend an average of 20 minutes on the site daily (comScore).

With 600 million people participating in Web 2.0 that represents TRILLIONS of page views per day. With another 60 Million blogs in the market and billions of web sites, this is just a sampling of the current conversational activity, not the total picture.

While there are trillions of daily digital conversations occurring the influence of these collective conversations has only just begun. However, when the diverse networks, and the related conversations, become seamlessly interconnected by the “shift” to “open source” then these streams of conversations become rivers of force and influence. Search will not longer be relevant to products or services rather relevancy will be to conversations about everything and anything. Imagine the power of connecting all of the conversations about any one product, service, topic, person or company and being able to access them by a “conversational taxonomy” of relevance. A simple beginning of “converging conversations” is Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop.

Can you imagine what kind of changes will occur? How will markets adapt? What will be the impact on commerce, on business and on the economy?

What say you?

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