Doesn’t The Social Web Realize that People Talk?

Trevor Baca asks: Doesn’t The Social Web Realize that People Talk?

From the linked page:

In the course of putting together the presentation I asked myself why much of the 2.0 hoopla isn’t about voice.

We’re telecom innovators. We think about people and communications and technology a lot. And we look at Myspace and can’t help but wonder how all that happened without us. Put another way, just how did social computing get so social without voice?

First, let’s check the observation. Tens of millions of messages, perhaps, pass through Myspace daily. Those messages are text, images, or both. But not voice. And yet voice seems so obvious. Friend online? Click here to ring both your phones. But no.

On flickr we find photos from everywhere in the world. And looking at everybody’s stuff even turns out to be fun and engaging. And we can see exactly who took what, and why. But click here to ring the photographer’s phone? Again, no. No voice.

Perhap’s it’s because voice communications are too real-time – you immediately demand the other party’s immediate and full attention.

With text-based communications (emails, SMS messages, IMs, comments + postings on forums, newsgroups etc) the other party is free to respond to your messages in their own time, and doesn’t have to devote their full attention to it – it’s easy to formulate a reply whilst doing other things at the same time.

Unless it’s something brief which requires an immediate answer (like a typical male phone call of “Pub?  Yeah, sounds good, see you there”), then I’d much prefer to be able to deal with it in my own time.

And, of course, as Trevor briefly touched upon, the Web is a global community – people are in different time zones, and nobody wants to receive a phone call in the middle of the night to discuss their latest blog post or the latest photos they uploaded to Flickr.