The next big thing would be the real time web. Friendfeed introduced a real real time, and Twitter has a real time which you do have to refresh every now and then via their web interface. However both are more realtime than ‘conventional’ sites and they contain a continuous flow of information. A real time web is nice, but how many hours a day do you have the time to gaze at your screen reading all the real time information. And also important: are all those real time events happening in your time zone and are you still awake when they happen?
I think just a very few people will have time to stare at their screen while all the news flows by in real time and since most people sleep approximately eight hours a day, you’ll miss a third of all the real time information (unless you tap in during your sleep). Therefore the real time web is something great, however it will not be used as often as we think or as we would like that it to be. Especially as you are not watching it real time (so you catch up every few minutes) it is not real time.
On demand vs real time
So the next big thing will be more like the on demand web: real time at the moments you want, available everytime you need it. It fits more in the snack size consumption that has become a trend in the last few years and gives you the possibility to tap in at the moments you want to snack. The pause button on friendfeed is a great example of their understanding of the on the demand web: you cannot do real time viewing all the time, sometimes you need a break. I even think that friendfeed without a pause button would be better: you shouldn’t be afraid to miss something in your information flow by not watching it. If things are really important to will come to you eventually, even when you missed it on forehand, your network will make sure you do not miss a thing, without that you have to gaze at your screen for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only thing you have to do, is to tap in at the moments you need to and you want to.