April 06, 2003

Swarming: The Next Big Thing?


Surfing as a social activity? In a way, it's already happening in slow motion. Someone finds an interesting site and emails the URL to friends or blogs about it. Doing this in realtime is the obvious next step and technically I don't think it's very hard. The challenge will be to create a critical mass around a common way to do it, and that will take someone with a good eye for interface and skill at social design.

Eyebees, a Dutch start-up, has released a beta of software that allows people to surf the web together. You can play follow-the-leader, take people on tours, and message each other about what you're seeing.

I think this is an idea with legs, and that we'll see a wave of imitators coming very quickly (hopefully cross-platform and perhaps open source). If swarming takes off, it might well build on and reinforce the Smart Mobs and Second Superpower memes. The second-order ripples of the web continue to amaze.

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