Pushbutton: realtime for everyone


Just as Twitter starts to pitch itself to businesses (or, at least, explain what it is) as a pre-cursor to start making some money, things are starting to come together that will let everybody send messages in realtime without relying on specific companies like Twitter and Facebook.

The Pushbutton web is the name being given to a number of technologies that will be used together to allow you to send realtime messages to anyone who wants to listen.  Most importantly, from a software point of view, these are free and open.

Anil Dash puts the idea forward in a clear and concise way, with the aim of popularising the idea:

I think the Pushbutton web has the opportunity to give individuals and organizations with distinct and passionate voices the ability to be even more immediate and expressive on the web

He also shows an old Wired magazine cover, not actually linking to a particular article.  However, a quick search finds Push! – a 12 year old article which simultaneously manages to really show its age and prove ahead of its time:

…a new medium is arising, surging across the Web in the preferred, many-to-many way: anything flows from anyone to anyone – from anywhere to anywhere – anytime… It means information that cascades, not just through a PC, but across all forms of communication devices.  And it means content that will not hesitate to find you – whether you’ve clicked on something recently or not.

The buzz phrase for this convergence is “push media.” Content is pushed to you, in contrast to the invitational pull you make when you click on the Web. The push can be gentle, in-your-face, intermittent, in the background, or always on.

At the same time, networked push media can – and will – bombard you with an intensity that invitational media never muster.

The promise of push-pull media is to marry the programmed experience of television with two key yearnings: navigating information and experience, and connecting to other people.

You also get the ability to address small self-organizing audiences that broadcast could never afford to find…

You are participating in a ritual that links you to thousands of other citizens

There is value in common and simultaneous knowledge.

There are likely to be giants involved in the new push media, but they won’t have control.

But push media’s most revolutionary advance may be the creation of a whole universe of small-scale (and not-so-small-scale) broadcast networks.


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