Point chaud / en émergence Technologique

De la Toile au Flot (Nova Spivack)

Encore une vidéo proposée par Michelle Blanc avec encore un titre tapageur: « Is the Web Dead? ».  Mais cette fois-ci la facture est un peu différente et assez jolie (un bel exemple de contenant qui parle autant que le contenu et qui renforce le message!). De plus, les innovations dont il est question sont en phase avec la discussion que les membres de la cellule de veille avaient récemment sur une approche immersive de la diffusion d’information: « Think Wide! »

Il est question de « réalité augmentée », de holographie tactile, mais surtout de « Welcome to the Stream: The Next Phase of the Web », un passionnant texte de Nova Spivack sur une nouvelle conceptualisation (un changement de paradigme?) du Web sous forme de « flot continu d’information » (Stream) avec des métaphores liquides: flux, courants, ondulations.

Quelques extraits de ce texte:

Just as the Web is formed of sites, pages and links, the Stream is formed of streams.

Streams are rapidly changing sequences of information around a topic. They may be microblogs, hashtags, feeds, multimedia services, or even data streams via APIs.

The key is that streams change often. This change is an important part of the value they provide (unlike static Websites, which do not necessarily need to change in order to provide value). In addition, it is important to note that streams have URI’s — they are addressable entities.

So what defines a stream versus an ordinary website?

  1. Change. Change is the key reason why a stream is valuable. That is not always so with a website.  Websites do not have to change at all to be valuable — they could for example just be static but comprehensive reference library collections. But streams on the other hand change very frequently, and it is this constant change that is their main point.
  2. Interface Independence. Streams are streams of data, and they can be fully accessed and consumed independently of any particular user-interface — via syndication of their data into various tools. Websites on the other hand, are only accessible via their user-interfaces. In the era of the Web the provider controlled the interface. In the new era of the stream, the consumer controls the interface
  3. Conversation is king. An interesting and important point is that streams are linked together not by hotlinks, but by acts of conversation — for example, replies, “retweets,” comments and ratings, and “follows.” In the era of the Web the hotlink was king. But in the era of the Stream conversation is king.

The Stream is what the Web is thinking and doing, right now. It’s our collective stream of consciousness.

The Stream is the dynamic activity of the Web, unfolding over time. It is the conversations, the live streams of audio and video, the changes to Web sites that are happening, the ideas and trends — the memes — that are rippling across millions of Web pages, applications, and human minds.

La métaphore de Spivack permet d’aborder un des problèmes fondamentaux de la veille, soit le besoin de filtres:

But how can we all keep up with this ever growing onslaught of information effectively? Will we each be knocked over by our own personal firehose, or will tools emerge to help us filter our streams down to managable levels? And if we’re already finding that we have too many streams today, and must jump between them ever more often, how will we ever be able to function with 10X more streams in a few years?

Human attention is a tremendous bottleneck in the world of the Stream. We can only attend to one thing, or at most a few things, at once. As information comes at us from various sources, we have to jump from one item to the next. We cannot absorb it all at once. This fundamental barrier may be overcome with technology in the future, but for the next decade at least it will still be a key obstacle.


Recently many sites have emerged that attempt to show what is trending up in real-time, for example by measuring how many retweets various URLs are getting in Twitter. But these services only show the huge and most popular trends. What about all the important stuff that’s not trending up massively? Will people even notice things that are not widely RT’d or “liked”? Does popularity equal importance of content?

Certainly one measure of the value of an item in the Stream is social popularity. Another measure is how relevant it is to a topic, or even more importantly, to our own personal and unique interests. To really cope with the Stream we will need ways to filter that combine both these different approaches. Furthermore as our context shifts throughout the day (for example from work to various projects or clients to shopping to health to entertainment, to family etc) we need tools that can adapt to filter the Stream differently based on what we now care about.

Natifs numériques? Non, c'est le savoir qui a changé!
Conférences 2.0
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Jean-Sébastien Dubé

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