No, not an email inbox
Even the people who develop email software like Microsoft, Google and IBM know that the inbox sucks. We don’t need a new email inbox we need something completely new. The problem is that Social Software seems to headed into the same problems as email and we certainly don’t need another dump zone.
Pretty streams vs. nasty rapids
Lots of us nerds are enamored with the concept of streams. Streams feed us relevant activity, like RSS or Twitter’s human updates. Simply, streams flow activity to us. There are an increasing amount of clients to help us manage this, Twitter, Alerthingy, Particls, and the soon-to-be Workstreamr. Streams work great when it’s a narrow channel without rocks. Instant messaging is the fastest, friction-free stream. It’s just two people talking in real time. As you broaden your connections, asynchronously and synchronously, to more people and sources, your stream can move much faster. I can’t keep up with Twitter, for example.
Crap in the filter
The social web is noisy and even within your network, your streams can easily turn muddy and/or run right past you. Even when the noise is turned down, the amount of quality, actionable content can be worse than your flooded email inbox. It’s hard to keep up with it all.
Now imagine opening the flood gates inside an enterprise filled with 80,000 employees. The amount of updates, alerts and activity can be deafening. Granted, you don’t need to be connected to all 80,000 people at once but there’s still enough scattered demand to crush you under its weight.
The new inbox needs to be a goldpan
It should not only cut the rapids back to a quality stream but help me channel my attention so it’s applied where it counts. It understands and shares which people and topics I’m most connected to. It pools conversations of interest and conversations that need action. Perhaps it even routes streams where I’m blocking. Ultimately, my new inbox needs to turn the perfect storm into a bubbling brook.