Many years ago, I read an article in the NYT and wanted to comment on it. In those days, you would write a letter to the NYT, which I did. Ho hum. So I was pleased when the digital version of the NYT allowed me to post comments right after reading the text. It seemed like a step up. And I did this a few times (silly me). Alas, my clever ideas found themselves in a list of hundreds of other comments, each demanding equal attention. It added no new value for me, so I stopped. And I gave up on the idea of reading comments. That section of the digital world is for me a wasteland.
But what if it weren’t? What if upon reading something on the web, you could signal the need for a new community around an idea that you found there? And what if you signalling put out a call to persons who either (1) have the same interest as you and/or (2) might be able to advance your knowledge and ability to solve problems in that domain? In this brave new world, the act of reading offers the possibility of plugging into a flow of focused exchanges.
It sounds pretty great to me. So why hasn’t it happened? I am not sure. But it seems that I am not the only one who thinks this way. Matt Ingram from GigaOm reports on a collaborative project to bring something like this about. This would be a game changer for me. I might even pay to be part of it.