First off, I am perfectly aware that a strict grammarian would never write “100 words or less,” in the knowledge that “fewer” is the correct term in such a context. But I am in fact quoting from the title of a post written by Marshall Kirkpatrick for ReadWriteWeb, a to which I subscribe via e-mail (that makes it one of a very few, fewer than 100 certainly). In September 2009, Kirkpatrick threw down a gauntlet, challenging the blog’s readers to “explain the phenomenon of the Real-Time Web in simple terms and few words…. From Facebook to the New York Times to blogs and geeky tech infrastructure, it seems like everyone’s exploring the Real-Time Web paradigm these days. It’s not easy to explain, though.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Having extended the challenge to his large readership, Kirkpatrick went on to “offer our working explanation of what the real-time web is and why it’s important, in exactly 100 words.” The combination of RRW‘s collective expertise and the economy of Kirkpatrick’s formulation meets the high bar for entry into my notebook.
The Real Time Web Explained…In Exactly 100 Words
The Real-Time Web is a paradigm based on pushing information to users as soon as it’s available – instead of requiring that they or their software check a source periodically for updates. It can be enabled in many different ways and can require a different technical architecture. It’s being implemented in social networking, search, news and elsewhere – making those experiences more like Instant Messaging and facilitating unpredictable innovations. Early benefits include increased user engagement (“flow”) and decreased server loads, but these are early days. Real-time information delivery will likely become ubiquitous, a requirement for almost any website or service.
These are indeed early days, and it is difficult to discern whether we are talking about the beginning of the end, the end of the beginning – or whether plotlines or calendars even apply. Gloss (likely to exceed the 100 word limit) to follow in due course.