One capability I find missing on the internet, at least in a form as easy to access as Facebook, is a similar time-shift communication device that would be based upon spoken language and not written messages. I miss hearing the actual voices of my friends and correspondents. Yes, we could call one another on the phone or Skype, but that’s real-time, and does not provide the advantage of time-shifted correspondence, that I can listen to whenever it is convenient.

Rosabeth Moss Kantor, the former Harvard Business Review editor, has a thoughtful article regarding what the internet has NOT changed in society, based upon her attendance at an internet conference sponsored by France before the recent G8 meeting there. My idea for a voice-based Facebook employs at least one of the principles she espouses — that the internet must retain the human touch.

In the comments section of her article, which reflects on how the internet has empowered the individual (the Arab Spring), one writer also cautions that increased controls of the internet (for example, stricter copyrights for music), could gradually eat away at the freedom of communication the internet enables. He posits that this erosion of freedom could reflect the desires of government for information control, and prevention of future Wikileaks-style embarrassments. Good point.

Ms. Kantor’s article does indeed get one thinking about role of the internet — this sort of second planet — on human communication, in commerce, education, and social interaction in general. Here’s a link to the article: http://blogs.hbr.org/kanter/2011/05/the-internet-changes-everythin.html

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