Monday, 26 October 2009

MyTop revisited

(By Richard Holway 6.00pm Monday 26th Oct 09) Back in 2006, I introduced you to the MyTop concept at my Prince’s Trust ‘State of the ICT Nation’ presentation. I remember that I asked the audience of CEOs if they had a social networking page – less than 5% had. When I suggested that social networking would be one of the defining aspects of IT over the next period it was greeted with derision!

I ended the presentation introducing MyTop. MyTop would be my social networking homepage. I could access it “any time, any place and from any device” (Holway’s Martini Moment introduced in my Prince’s Trust speech in 2003) It would allow access to my contacts, my calendar, my music, my data, my photos. More significantly it would allow access to all my (Cloud) applications too.

A year later, I was so convinced that this was the way forward that in 2007 I wrote an Open letter to Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook. He never replied!

I say all this because today I seem to have read article after article suggesting that something remarkably similar to this concept will be the Next Big Thing. Today’s Leader in the FT – Social cash making - suggests that Facebook is the de facto platform for “communicating and sharing information”. Sherry Coutu sent me a link from the Web 2.0 summit she is attending in the USA. Sean Parker (a founder of Facebook) had given a speech about how Network Services would dominate the next phase of the web. “Parker believes we’re shifting from the first phase of the Internet, which was dominated by what he calls “information services” These are companies like Google and Yahoo. But next up to dominate the web will be the “network services” like Facebook and Twitter, he believes”. Then in StrategyEye today I read that Email, calls and social networking will merge, says Gartner. “The distinction between messaging, conferencing, voice calls and social networking for business users will disappear within the next four years, according to a new Gartner report”.

I gain both satisfaction in seeing the world come around to my way of thinking – and not a little irritation at the reaction to the concept when I first introduced it!

But, what is much more interesting is that the ‘Race for MyTop’ is still wide open. I have suggested that Microsoft should buy FaceBook and make it their “Portal to the Microsoft Cloud”. Trouble is that consumers are very fickle and Microsoft owning Facebook could have the same ‘Kiss of Death’ as News Corp owning MySpace or ITV owning Friends Reunited. But Facebook, with over 300m users (and rising across the key demographics), is clearly the flagbearer at the moment.

I’m sure I’ll return to this topic again (just try to stop me…) But remember you heard it all first on HotViews three years ago!

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