http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maplesoft/47238276041. Maplesoft on Facebook?
Math talk mingling with my meaningless personal status reports? Are we now
laying a clear path for the Maple world to walk right into our private lives?
Now I’m worried.
This Web thing used to be so simple. Build a Web site, put some interesting, if
not useful, content on the pages and tell people about it. If people like it,
they’ll tell their friends and the site becomes popular. The
Maple Application Center is a great example of that. This
archive of examples and applications for our products was a pioneering site of
its kind in our industry segment … way back in 1997.
Then someone said to have a really successful site, you need people to directly
engage each other online to ensure the relevance and freshness of content. This
was still fairly simple with the available software tools. So we built
– the online blogging and forum community.
It too was one of the first for our industry. The site became very popular, and
lots of people joined and benefitted from the interactions.
The common element between the first two sites is that they are fairly linear in
their worldviews. Build a site + pour in more and more content. The only
difference with the latter is that a broader group of people participate in the
essentially monotonic accumulation of content. Pretentious people call this
model Web 1.0.
The social networking phenomenon is an example of something that these same
people call Web 2.0. Individuals generate rich information, content, photos,
videos, etc. and then through various sites that connect them to people around
the world, their content dynamically interacts, morphs, and collectively emerges
as something much greater than the sum of the parts.
eBay is far more than a Web site to buy and sell used stuff (that’s how it
started). It has literally transformed the rules of commerce for consumer goods
around the world. YouTube may seem like a large collection of videos but for my
son, it’s a way to learn how to play new songs on his guitar; to get
constructive commentary on his rendition of the Pink Panther theme on sax; to
watch clips of classic hard rock bands from my youth so that he can lecture me
on how I never really understood the essence of Led Zeppelin. Ironically, for
him YouTube, a site for videos, is his gateway to the music world (a
traditionally audio thing).
The is an experiment to say the least. But it
follows the tradition of exploration that our company has always had when it
comes to new media. Whether it’s Web sites, blogs, podcasts, or others, I’m very
anxious to see how this particular experiment turns out.
I lamented about the Facebook group “”.
Thousands are spending countless hours complaining about math. With a bit of
work and utilizing the same connective infrastructure, could we bring about a
more constructive space? Within my own friends’ network, I spot scientists,
artists, musicians, and fortune tellers (ironically one of my friends is all of
the above). The potential of social networking is fuelled by the dynamic
interaction among a great diversity of individuals. When it works, the results
are amazing and typically unexpected. When it doesn’t? Oh well, nothing much has
been lost – it’s just a Web site.
To be honest, if you visit the Maplesoft fan page today, it does seem a little
bare. So the invitation is out. Give this Facebook thing a try. Think of it as
“digital loitering”. If you find your mind wandering on a slow work day, come on
by and maybe share your thoughts on Maple stuff, on math, or anything else
that’s on your mind. The best thing about digital loitering is that you don’t
have to drive all the way to the mall and hang out in the food court with a bad
cup of coffee, waiting for a friend to stop by to chat. The magic of the
Internet will deliver some of the most interesting people on the planet to your
virtual door so that you can hang out for a bit … and then easily kick them out
when you get tired of them. But that little bit of interaction, for me, never
fails to invigorate my day. BRB.