Every church online

Friday, March 23, 2007


Connecting on the Web

Mashups are all the rage now days. If you aren't a link follower, a mashup is the combining of two web applications to make a third one. I think they also give us a window on human behavior.

Alex from Read/WriteWeb dug a bit deeper and took a look at the popularity of various types of mashups. They found mapping mashups are the most popular. Then Alex post goes on to draw conclusions about why mashups are created and their rate of adoption, but I think there is another insight from this data.

Maps have meaning, we like to see things in proximity to each other. Somehow seeing dots on a map means more than seeing a list with radius information. Both forms communicate the same thing, but there is a feeling of closeness and familiarity when it's on a map.

Many people see the web as a force that stifles human interaction as people spend more time with their computers and less time with each other. You could have said the same thing about the telephone.

The way people interact changes, but the human desire for community does not. Praise God for that! I think the mapping mashups are scratching our itch to see who else is out there. When a person is not represented simply by a user name and headshot, but by a dot on a map, that person becomes connected to a physical location. I think something in our brain responds to that, it makes that person more real to us.

If you are serious about building community, then I say it's mapping time.

This post was orginally published on my work blog, Silas Notes.

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