I think we’ve forgotten something recently. I think we’ve forgotten how easily social networks allow us to connect with unbelievable speed and accuracy.
There was a time when connecting with old high school or college friends meant contacting your reunion coordinator. Sending emails. Phone calls. Snail mail. Or worse yet, actually attending a reunion (I’m joking…sort of).
Now, we are able to locate old friends with Facebook accounts in 5 minutes during a coffee break. One friend leads you another – and down the rabbit hole you go to find dozens more by accident.
Well, not really by accident. It seems like synchronicity when you stumble upon a friend through another friend’s Facebook account, but it’s not luck at all. It’s good design.
A new speed
So what if we could take this speed to the next level? What if we could temporarily connect with individuals involved in specific events while they are actually happening?
Yes, we have the ability to peer into blogs, Twitter streams, Brightkite check-ins, Flickr photostreams, etc. But there isn’t a mechanism to allow us to connect with hundreds or thousands of people at once.
I am talking about something like the Emergency Broadcast System, but using a temporary two-way communication instead of a one-way communication. Since it would operate over the internet (and not the airwaves) targeting could incorporate very detailed geographic information. It would need to operate across multiple social networks to incorporate as many users as possible.
Is this a crazy idea? Probably. Ok, absolutley, but think of the amazing life-saving information it could facilitate. Think of it as crowd-casting at the microscopic level with with gateways to networks opening and closing when needed.
What do you think?