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The Splinternet Fragmentation of the Inbox

Josh Bernoff has been posting lately on the demise of the Golden Age of the Internet and rise of the Splinternet.

The Splinternet means the end of the Web’s golden age

Now with iPhones, Androids, Kindles, Tablets, and TVs connecting to the Web, that’s not true. Your site may not work right on these devices, especially if it includes flash or assumes mouse-based navigation. Apps that work on the iPhone don’t work on the Android. Widgets for FiOS TV don’t work anywhere else.

Meanwhile, more and more of the interesting stuff on the Web is hidden behind a login and password. Take Facebook for example. Not only do its applications not work anywhere else, Google can’t see most of it. And News Corp. and the New York Times are talking about putting more and more content behind a login.

Web marketing has grown since 1995, based on the idea that everything is connected. Click-throughs, ad networks, analytics, search-engine optimization — it all works because the Web is standardized. Google works because the Web is standardized.

Not any more. Each new device has its own ad networks, format, and technology. Each new social site has its login and many hide content from search engines.

Josh also has an updated post declaring proof of the Splinternet. He doesn’t so much offer proof of the Splinternet’s existence but more of a hypothetical index that allows you check your own Web stats for the fragmentation he’s mentioning.

Josh’s index is good if you’re a webmaster or Web marketer with access your analytics. But your average tech geek need to look no further that your iPhone. That very device which has fuled the rise of the Splinternet like no other.

Behold the Splinternet in the wild:

The Splinternet

News allerts, missed calls, email, And this is just my iPhone 3GS. On my Windows Mobile, HTC Touch Pro2 I have my work email, other voice messages, missed calls and text messages. On my HTC, MyTouch 3G with Google other apps that need updating, the same Twitter, Facebook and Brightkite  messages as well as GTalk IM messages waiting for me.

Each one of those messages sends alerts, notifications to multiple “inboxes” but all of them can only be managed in their proprietary walled garden.

Have you spotted the Splinternet in the wild?

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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • jbernoff

    This is a pretty good point, Tac. The fragmenting of the inbox experience is more of the same challenge for consumers (and therefore, for marketers and sites). And it's so pervasive we never notice it. Splintered indeed!

  • http://www.newcommbiz.com tacanderson

    It's the consumer end of the problem you called out. It's a huge challenge for marketers. As the “hub and spoke” approach to content publishing flourishes I've felt the pain first hand of then trying to manage all of those conversations you've started. There seems to be little value for consumers or marketers, only the splintered platforms. I wonder how much longer we'll tolerate it.

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