Op-Ed: Objects Aren’t Social


“…Trouble is, I just don’t think that Internet-connected everyday objects have much social value.
Say I tag a book that I bought and attach the following ‘memory’ to it: “I read this book in the summer of 2010, it was a great read. I’d give it a 4/5.” Even if I wrote a much more in-depth review, what value does that have on a single object? If I uploaded that review to Amazon.com, then it’s put into context and gets aggregated with other reviews to form ratings and other ‘wisdom of the crowd’ intelligence.
But on the object itself – my copy of the book – the review has limited value. If a friend of mine happened to scan my book with their phone, they’d see my review…and then probably head straight to Amazon.com to see what other people thought. Or perhaps check out what their own social network thought, via an app like Glue (a social network based on the media you consume). Objects aren’t social, they never were and they never will be. The real value of Internet-connected objects is that they can become part of the network, which means they can connect to one another and they add more data to the giant computer we call The Cloud. But social networks aren’t going to form around single objects, other than perhaps public ones – like the Eiffel Tower, for example. But then you are just talking about a location, which the likes of FourSquare and BrightKite can take care of…”
Source: Richard MacManus, April 18th, 2010. Available: http://readwrite.com/2010/04/18/objects_are_not_social. Retrieved 25 Oct 2012.
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