The need to centralize a brand in a decentralized world

I’m starting to see this new type of tool and concept emerge as content gets created and distributed into many small and large buckets

Users are creating content, and often uploading, sharing, or producing to a wide variety of sites: social networks, image sites, movie sites, communication tools, blog software, forum software, etc. They are creating and consuming data on mobile devices, home computers and networks, work networks, and in public spaces. For the corporate brand, this means that media, text, voices, and opinions about a company are spread all across the wide web.

Information, data, and profiles are scattered around the web, and on different networks. While one person can be involved in many conversations around the web; tracking and managing them are very difficult as they’re scattered

[The desire to track and centralize data and media created on the disparte web is growing for both individual users and corporate brands. The need for Digital Lifestyle Aggregation rapidly approaches]

A trend of tools are starting to come around, as they centralize all of those data points into one area, or make it easier to find. In many ways, it’s a dynamic blog roll of all ‘my stuff’. Marc Canter describes it in this early post (2004) as

“Navigating the complex worlds of multimedia, on-line content, communications, ecommerce and Home LAN based products is the key to understanding where we’re headed in the future. Enabling customers (both end-users and enterprises) to connect all of these disparate worlds, products and services together is what digital lifestyle aggregation is all about.”

In this definition, digital lifestyle aggregation is described as:

“A digital lifestyle aggregator (DLA) is a computer software application which integrates and centralizes the user control of all of the user’s information and electronic devices, including personal computers, Home LANs, cell phones, digital cameras, videogames, PDAs, and other forms of consumer electronics devices.”

Techcrunch has started to track a few of these players, from Loopster along with Profilactic and ProfileLinker. Sonecast creates a single page of media, using aggregation techniques from disparate buckets.

The future
In many ways, we can expect existing feedreaders like MyYahoo and Google Reader and Facebook to start offering these types of tools. This feature set will become as common as the blogroll (and integrated with it), white label social networks and some solutions will provide password management, yet another form of identity, and yet another reason we need a single trusted form of user ID.

What this means for corporations
First of all, please don’t think you can control your brand, it’s not about that. But you’ll start to need these tools to, track, and centralize one’s brand (and everything associated around it) in a decentralized world. I’ve predicted that the future websites will be community based websites, so aggregating that content in one area helps to make you the first stop for product knowledge.

For further listening listen to this podcast interview between Dan Farber of ZDnet and Marc Canter they discuss the need for open networks, and thinking beyond Google, Yahoo, MS, Apple, and AOL.

Update: be sure to check out Chris’s ideas on Attention Streams, imagine haveing all your data on a single feed.