Apologies first for linking blog entries with song lyrics. Memo to Self – kick this silly habit. Response from Self – but your whole information behaviour is just a series of silly habits, so why quit a comparatively harmless one? (That’s the trouble with Self, I find. Such a smart ass. Makes the whole idea of an interior dialogue so pointless and frustrating.)  But habitual information behaviours is not a subject to be given up lightly. The way we learn, absorb, research and find content contentment is intimately bound into habitual patterns of finding out, and some internet innovations work with those patterns – while others work radically against them. I remember returning from the US some years ago, newly signed into Twitter and LinkedIn, and wondering if these would ever become parts of my habitual behaviour, and, lo, it comes to pass that they are lungs through which I breathe. Yet I thought the innovation which would most change my life was going to be StumbleUpon, and I find that I have changed machines and not re-installed it.

So here I am, back in the US  again (an experience that happens most months, admittedly) and once more we are in a firestorm of  service innovation. During a trip which will take me to New York (twice), San Diego and Nashville, I find a constant reminder of the atmosphere around the internet boom of the early years of this century – and the way it continued despite the dotcom bust. I heard an investor yesterday talking about the “new bubble”, while governments and bankers are still meeting to resolve the last one  (whose predecessor was the one whose subsequent regulatory adjustment would bring to an end, in our lifetimes and forever, the cycle of boom and bust…)

So what will this round of hyper-invested, hyper-hyped internet launches do to my habitual behaviours?  Quite a bit, perhaps. I have now encountered three, new to me as a user, which could fit that category. I am sure they will be familiar to many of you already, but here are some random reactions from a new user:

My previous generation having reached maturity with the LinkedIn IPO last week, I shall be interested to see how this new generation fares. Qwiki may be the StumbleUpon of my new crop, of course, but I would not bet upon it. Service innovation succeeds on the network because specific behavioural requirements are met, because service pricing and conditions of use are appropriate and because users recognize its place in their own personal “workflow” of active transactional engagement with the world around them. All that and something else too – they must feel good using it and feel that others think they look good as a result. Get to that last homebase as well and services score. I shall watch my new trio like a hawk!

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