I wish I could go to more social media events/conferences/festivals/whatever.  Sadly, my schedule is a bit tight, and I don’t live on the west coast.

I stumbled across Threadsy via Twitter (the opening comment makes sense when you consider that Threadsy launched at Techcruch 50).  Anyway, it looks interesting, and I signed up for a beta invite.  Then, because they asked, I started filling out their survey.  In addition to the usual demographic information, they asked “How would you improve email, Twitter, or Facebook?”

Before I post my response, I should note that I don’t have access to Threadsy now.  And I didn’t write this post because I want an invite faster.  Don’t get me wrong, I do want to try it out, but I wrote this post because they made me think.  So way to go them – in my eyes, that’s as important as providing a service I’ll actually use.

Now here’s my response to their survey question:

I think Threadsy is a good way to start. With the rise of Twitter clients (especially those that can integrate with other services), we now have an expectation that not everyone will view social media content the same way – that way being through the service’s website. Opening up the data stream across platforms and allowing third party applications to access, sort, and analyze it can help to increase the signal to noise ratio, and make sure that we’re seeing content we actually want to see.

I suppose this mirrors the original development of e-mail clients, especially when you consider that they often include additional features beyond that of what e-mail services provide (like better spam filtering).

This said, it’s interesting to note that nothing above truly changes the concept of e-mail – although that may be just what it needs considering that it’s been around since the 1970s. And if I knew how to completely revamp e-mail, well, I’d probably be off trying to do it.

So yeah.  That’s what popped into my brain in response to their question (and I didn’t even go into Google Wave).  I’m still thinking about this, but I’m also curious – how would you make e-mail better?

  • Thanks for the thoughts, very much in line with the thinking behind threadsy. Unlocking data streams across services is a clear win for people, but bringing it all together is just the beginning. In our view, the way you bring it together has a huge impact on the signal-to-noise ratio, and our separation of items into Inbound and Unbound and our Person Cards are our first attempts in improving this. Expect more to come!

    Also, revamping email is definitely a big part of what we're trying to do, and as you say it's about time. People are so familiar with email that striking the right balance between convention and innovation will be a tough challenge. Any ideas welcome!

    Scott, Product

  • Thank you for the comment Scott. I've been using threadsy for a few hours now, and it's been making me consider how the way we access the data stream changes the way we perceive it.

    Columns in TweetDeck and Seesmic change the way we see and interact with tweets; the single stream of Tweetie or fixed view of in turn mean different patterns of interaction. The same is true of e-mail clients. Accessing multiple e-mail accounts through a single desktop application is different than using the individual web clients (and different than accessing multiple accounts through one central one). I think that changing e-mail then should not just be about creating new ways to access it – it should be about developing new methods to change the way we organize and analyze the Inbound. After all, if changes don't work across ways of access, then can it really be seen as a change? Something else to consider, I suppose.

    Anyway, I look forward to following threadsy as it develops and grows.


  • Interesting points Jed. Better organization of email (and your entire Inbound) is definitely something we're aiming for. We're looking to innovate in this area going forward. Should be fun.