Social media old and new: a bubble ready to burst?

Being able to witness and experience new Internet tools as they happen is a rare thing by definition. Last night I was lucky enough to catch the wave and ride it for a while before, as some commentator is already warning, it will crash on shore like the dot com bubble did.

Twitter is over capacity - was something big going on last night around 11.30pm CET?

Technology, both at its software and hardware ends, is moving so fast that new applications and platforms get developed on a daily basis. And while some are good and stick around while many just don't cut it. A rule of thumb seems to be that users will deem useful and readily adopt those that simplify, in one way or another, our hectic Internet lives: RSS readers that gather news from different sources, and desktop aggregators of Twitter and Facebook updates are good examples of this trend.*

The two social media giants have until now being at the helm of this mini-revolution, and the sheer number of enthusiasts they are able to muster today makes any initiative worth noting. Below, for instance, is an example of a multimedia, Internet conversation that was happening yesterday at 4pm PST (1am CET) thanks to the guys at Mashable.

Mashable's Ben Parr interviewed Zappos' CEO Tony Hsieh live on video chat, and live on twitter: while listening to the back and forth about social media, people were able to tweet their comments and questions. Which is a pretty cool concept if you ask me.**

Even more difficult is to create brand new platforms in what seems to be a overly saturated market: this is the case of new-kid-on-the-block Knoyce, but also of next-big-thing-elect Google Wave.

Not much is yet known to common mortals outside the developers' world about the above projects. The lenghty presentation of Google Wave (see end of post) at Google I/O 2009 — the Internet search giant's annual conference in San Francisco — gave us a glimpse of the dircetion they want to take, and would like humanity to follow them on: they call it a revolution in the e-mail concept, I see it as a development of their Gmail conversation model. Eagerly we await: here’s the #googlewave on Twitter.

But can we make of Knoyce? Did you even ever heard of it? Promising to be "not only a [new] social network, but a new trend to follow, a new word to say, and a new site to see", it launched today at 12am EDT (6am CET). Problem is: nobody is really talking about it, and the whole thing looks like more of a marketing stunt than anything else — their promotional video devotes a whole minute to examples of page customisation, and branded apparel is already available. #Knoyce on Twitter.

Going back where we started: are we really in the middle of the next revolution, a change so quick that is hard to follow and judge its meaningfulness? Or is it just a weak, ever-inflating bubble that will burst soon leaving us with nothing?

Remembering Darwinism...Stay tuned.

*Like the following: Google Reader, NetNewsWire, Tweetdeck, and Seesmic.

**Ok, to be honest, not everything worked out perfectly: sound quality was bad — Tony's mic was scratchy, and Ben's voice was non-existent — plus Ben didn't find easy to interview and read the endless incoming tweets at the same time. It can be improved but the bases are there.


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