There’s something fundamentally satisfying about the power of real-time interaction. I tend to forget that from time to time and try to get my head around why I find certain products and services so appealing when, on the surface, there doesn’t appear to be other any unique value proposition. Maybe it’s a little too obvious to notice.

At first I didn’t understand why the blogosphere was clamoring for MyBlogLog. Then I realized it satisfies bloggers’ voyeuristic need to see who’s visiting your site right now. Compare this to traditional analytics services and all that in-depth referral data collected from 2 days ago seems so distant and uninteresting.

In the beginning I failed to see why everyone was talking about twitter. Then I started using the service and now I see why broadcasting what you are doing and listening in on what your contacts are doing right now can be highly addictive. The so call “lifestream” experience is far different from publishing a blog post or following one via rss reader. It feels like watching a stream of incoherent snapshots of people’s lives ticking across your eyes, but somehow you feel compelled to observe and participate because it’s happening right now.

If I look around, there are plenty of other examples — Digg Spy, EarthCam, Etsy’s cool-as-shit time machine UI, etc. They’re all interesting because they’re all happening right now. And when you take “now” out of the equation, they all stop being interesting. Immediately. Interesting…

Any suggestions, ideas? Feel free to comment on this article!

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