Messina uses research from Alexandra Horowitz's new book Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know as a metaphor for the change from the old document and page centric web to the new, real-time and people centric web. We've selected Messina's post as our Real-Time Web Article of the Day in our lead-up to the ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit on October 15th.
"Did you know that a beagle's nose has 300 million receptor sites?" Messina writes, "Humans, in contrast, have about six million. And that changes everything in a dog's perception of the world."
"Imagine that we were able to interpret information at the scale and rapidity that dogs parse scent. That's where we need to go.
"If the speed of thinking -- and the shape of our thoughts -- have previously been confined to 93.5 square inches (the area of an eight and half by eleven sheet of paper), then our perception of reality must adjust to the scale of the web -- to draw a comparison, as though we expanded our olfactory centers from 6 to 300 million.
In his article Messina compares the way that a dog's nostrils are capable of inhaling and exhaling simultaneously, thus consuming the information around them continuously, with the human experience of real-time web flow. "In order to cope with the real-time era of the web," he writes, "we must imagine a similar augmentation of our own knowledge processing abilities if we're to cope with the deluge."
Part of that augmentation will come in the form of technical filters, something we discussed at length in yesterday's post Filtering the Real-Time Web.
User experience has been a key topic, along with filtering, in all the conversations we've been having about the real-time web. Messina is a User Experience design guy and he says this about the issue:
"Presuming that we keep the brains we have, this [vastly increased access to information] has huge ramifications for interaction and user experience design. We cannot simply apply document-based interfaces to this new, more rapid and fluid space. Instead, we need to take inspiration from the field of game design (Halo would suck if it operated at anything less than real-time); we need to think about how social search fits in and can augment our ability to filter information and make better decisions; we need to consider how one can effectively project intentions onto the web to receive better, faster, automatic service, as Doc Searls' Project VRM proposes; we need to take advantage of the always-on human network, as Amazon's Mechanical Turk and Q & A service Aardvark do; and we should embrace the natural and native speed that comes with a more conversational and people-centric web."
Messina's whole post and the comments left by his readers are worth reading. You should give him a scratch behind the ear by clicking over there too.
What do you think? Are you ready to learn to inhale and exhale information at the same time? What levers do you think will make that experience more usable for people on the web?
These are key questions that will be discussed at the ReadWrite Real-Time Web Summit - but there's no reason to wait until then. The conversation is flowing continuously. Let us know what you'd like to contribute to it.