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TECH TALK: Tech Trends: India Action: Create Contentrix

July 21st, 2004 · 1 Comment

There is change afoot in the world of content creation and consumption. We are moving from a one-way, broadcast world to one that is two-way, interactive and based on publish-subscribe technologies. Weblogs and wikis make mass publishing very easy. RSS enables the syndication of content such that consumers of content need not go to websites (or weblogs) trying to figure out what has changed. Taken together with other interactive technologies like IM (presence), social networking, FOAF (friend-of-a-friend), the time has come to think about a new content platform, which can better facilitate interaction between groups. This is what Contentrix is about. Think of it as the next-generation content lifecycle management platform.

Even today, email remains the least common denominator in terms of sharing information and for many, even collaborating together with others. For a long time, email has worked well. But today, given the problems caused by spam and virus on one side, and the explosion in messages that overload us, emails limitations are becoming apparent. Simultaneously, we are seeing the emergence in communities of alternative interaction technologies like blogs, wikis and RSS aggregators. These form the building blocks for Contentrix.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the new age content is that of community involvement. No longer does an idea have a finality to it readers can build on it interactively among themselves. I have seen this happen with some of my blog posts. It happens regularly on community forums like Slashdot. Content development has become iterative and continuous. Readers are no longer passive consumers as has happened with most of the media sites. The difference between authors and readers is breaking down.

Contentrix would provide an integrated content creation and consumption platform, built around blogs, wikis, search, social networking, instant messaging, a publish-subscribe backend, syndication and notification via RSS, IRC and visualisation. It would allow any user to create a content vertical, with control on who it is available for (public, private or a closed user group). This would be the foundation on which next-generation vertical portals would get built. Contentrix would be the building block for constructing the Memex.

Contentrix could add tremendous value to a weblog by enabling the community to start discussion threads around blog posts. It could enhance a corporate website by providing an RSS feed of the updates thus allow near real-time notification to interested readers. For specialised vertical sites, Contentrix would provide an out-of-the-box solution to leverage the knowledge of the readers and build in reputations. For enterprise Intranets, a platform like Contentrix would offer a bottom-up mechanism to create an information flow which can amplify the knowledge embedded in the staff.

Contentrix does not exist in its entirety. The various elements needed to make it happen do. Building Contentrix is an interesting opportunity for Indian software companies. It could also be used to create the next-generation Indian portals.

Tomorrow: Always-On World


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