Some of you might recall a post I wrote for ReadWriteWeb not too long ago on the Pragmatic Web. The term “pragmatic” is specifically used due to its definition within semiotics:
“Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. It studies how the transmission of meaning depends not only on the linguistic knowledge (e.g. grammar, lexicon etc.) of the speaker and listener, but also on the context of the utterance, knowledge about the status of those involved, the inferred intent of the speaker, and so on”
Essentially, the Pragmatic Web theory states that the web will become increasingly more useful, usable and dynamically relevant to users based on their identities and the context of their social graph. To clarify, “identity” in this context refers specifically to three kinds of social identity data: explicit (what I say about myself), behavioral (what I do, my activities) and relationship (who I am connected to and what those connections say about me).
The Synaptic Web, a theory constructed by my brilliant friend Chris Saad, expands upon the “simplicity” of the Pragmatic Web theory by abstracting what this contextual relevance is based on. Instead of merely looking at people and their connections, Synaptic Web looks at the totality of data objects, their connections, the meaning which can be derived from these connections, and how these meanings may be applied to create a more “useful, usable and dynamically relevant” web:
“We believe that this evolving view of neural science provides an increasingly apt metaphor for what we call the ‘Synaptic Web’ in that the connections between objects are more important than the objects themselves. The question is; how are these connections changing to create new experiences? In other words, there is an opportunity to stop looking at the nodes and start looking at the space between them.
The exploding variety, speed and flexibility of electronic connections – those between people, data sets, applications, the real world and the online world, gestures and meaning and content and communication – is at the root of what some have called an evolving “collective intelligence.” Thus, the Synaptic Web is about the evolution of the Internet from document delivery platform, to a platform for communication (“2.0″) and now towards something much more profound: a dynamic web of adaptive “organic” and implicit connections whereby real-time information flows give structure and meaning to previously unconnected sets of data. The Internet is a sea of conversations streaming through connections, and these patterns have meaning.”
In many ways the idea of the Pragmatic Web is merely one result of the larger, more encompassing goal of a Synaptic Web. I mentioned to Chris via Twitter that perhaps it may be said that the Synaptic Web begets a Pragmatic Web.
During SXSWi, Intel sponsored a summit in conjunction with the Social Media Club for a discussion about the Synaptic Web: