For different kinds of social application, we can now link them easily by importing/exporting their RSS/Atom feeds. In this way, they can be connected like a pipeline system(Do you still remember the classic fun game "Pipeline"?). Meme with XML format can flow over different pipes to reach different users eventually . There are different kinds of pipeline building blocks in the system including pipes, Tee joints("T"), and elbow joints, etc. Since there are more and more such type of components can be chosen by users, the system becomes more complex than a traditional one-to-many system(like the urban waterworks). The many-to-many relationship between those building blocks can generate non-linear chain effect that maybe possible to amplify little voices into big bang. It's the new type of media, "Social Media".
I'm making an illustration on "Social Media" big picture by putting some typical "Micropipeline" applications on one map to show how information could flow from one person to mass population by routing those pipelines and possibly generate impact. Of course, the value of the original meme should be recognized along the path. Traditional media like "Reuters" is no more than a super node on such a big map. The picture is not finished yet, but I would love to share some draft works to get your comments to improve it.
Someday in near future, I think the connection between different pipeline application won't be just limited to RSS. They can eventually "talk" to each other in more flexible and semantic way. Some new kinds of authentication methodologies like OpenID could be applied in such scenario to ensure that information are authentic enough. And I'm sure XML-based Microformats will play key roles in future picture.
Micropipeline will be more important to some totalitarian countries like China to confront it's censorship system("Great Firewall", or GFW in short). Those seems-redundant building blocks(like Google Reader v.s. Bloglines) just more helpful to build fault tolerant media pipelines to serve people in such countries. E.g. It's found that Soup.io were blocked two weeks ago by GFW in China:
As feared, we've been blocked in China again.
This is an unsatisfactory state of affairs for our Chinese users – but as much as we'd like to, we can't just keep changing our IP address every day.Sorry! :( ---[via Censorship evades Soup, has stronger kung-fu]
Bloggers got very angry(Chinese) on such blockage with curses all the time. But they are now becoming smarter to build more complex personal pipelines to avoid of single point failure. They switched to FriendFeed.com as the alternative solution to burn their social feeds as life stream. And their subscribers can response as well to keep their information pipes flowing at normal level. The same trick applys to Yahoo Pipes! when people found Feedburner was blocked in China half year ago. If it's a mouse and cat game, the mouse seems faster and smarter now.
For the draft illustration shown above. I'm actually using Zooomr as the picture link here instead of Flickr since the later one has been blocked in China as well. However, I believe they can't block every picture sharing site around the world to kill themsevlves. So I think it's a great hack that we Chinese can survive in such a Social Media age. We can even change the country in a longer extent for sure.
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