Excellent! Ray Ozzie is talking about one of my favorite papers by a guy named Granovetter's called the "Strength of Weak Ties" which talks about how weak ties between distant nodes are more valuable than the strong ties within tight groups. I can go on for hours about this idea, but Ray also talk about another VERY important thing that I think we're all thinking about. Are blogs an extension of email and can blogs get rid of spam, most email, bulletin boards and all sorts of things in one huge P2P swoop! That WOULD be cool.
Ray OzzieJon, your talk about mail brings up a discussion that I had with someone lately about email, linking, and transparency. One of the unfortunate aspects about "googling email" is that there are really no inbound links except those that can be reverse engineered through threading. But in social systems, those are the "strong ties" - the obvious relationships. What is more interesting, I believe, are the "weak ties" that would emerge if people outside of your social group started pointing into an interesting message of yours. (Weak Ties are precisely why I read blogs!!) Imagine the field day that Google could have if 1) all email files had access controls removed, and 2) people started surfing each others' email messages.
Unrealistic, right? Well, think again. Why have we grown so accustomed to the social norm that email should be private? Think about it. Start small. And remember that your company owns your inbox and outbox. What if all engineers within a company were given a new email address when they started, and were told "just use it for business" and "please note that everything that you do in email is in public view. In order to prevent embarassing moments, please keep matters of your personal privacy OUT of your assigned email box; use Groove for private matters. Oh, and by the way, here are the URLs of all of your team members' mailboxes, in case you care. Oh, and by the way, here's a site where you Google across all of them. Oh, also, I should mention that we never delete any email, by policy."