August 24, 2009

The web is in realtime

You know a technology has really became upstream when you see client-side attacks to that technology.

That's exactly what's happening with real-time information flows: even black hat hackers are using real time technologies.

Whike the most well known real time application out there in the internet is twitter, as you most certainly know by now, it's not just tweeter anymore. Users are becoming more and more adept to retrieve data in real time and are actively starting to look for it. Even search giants like Google are getting more and more "real time" search results in their results-set.

However, this comes with a price: real time information is nowhere near as accurate and as deep as "old school" batch produced information. You cannot post an in-depth review on tweeter, so you're most likely going to just write "it works" or "it sucks" and that's it. This is not the sort of clean information organizations want to provide their users. However, and that's exactly the key to understand what's happening on the web, they are forced to do so. Users work and think in real time; your customers are using a real-time web, and you must do so as well, like it or not.

The "real-time revolution" is not a technological one. We've had forums and bb even before the internet as we know it now was born. However, it is a strong change of paradigm: users are now all of a sudden looking for those "contact me in real-time" boxes, they are asking questions expecting answers in real time. Email is just too slow for that.
At the same time, once you write something you've written it, you can't just deny it. So, we're facing a world where you (as a company representative) are expected to answer fast and do so correctly.

This I think, is one of the most important issue. To react, in a world where "when" is always "now", you have to be faster than yesterday, and the first thing you have to cut are decision times. Have the managers, the ones who can actually make a statement, interact with the web in real-time.

Need a good training on the whole real-time stuff? Maybe you should seriously ask your organization whether you understand what's going on in the internet or not. However, you can start by trying Yammer and see that (not if) it makes a difference.