Blogging Tech: Erik Benson ideas

Erik Benson has some interesting reflections on how he connected with other people, and how technology can be an interface to support those cionversations–biz blogging, social software. FOAF, etc.
Erik writes aout how there are topics he knows he can talk about with specific people and those topics and people can be mapped out. Then,
” I know you saw this from a million miles away, but what if this could be captured in software? Either as part of an email or IM client, or as a way to group people with similar interfaces regarding similar topics? How important is the person behind the interface, in other words. The only reason I don’t talk to strangers about some of the things that I talk to friends about is because the interface hasn’t been established… but if we explicitly accepted incoming conversations through a public conversation interface, we wouldn’t have to go through the trouble of being introduced, meeting at a bar, testing the breadth and depth of allowed conversation jumps, establishing permissions contracts, etc, before we could talk about, say, “the purpose of life” or something else that is sensitive and generally requires a lot of trust on both sides.
This weblog, for instance, offers me a much broader conversation interface than I have with any actual person.”
Erik raises some good points–if one value of product development is problem-solving, this post should be required reading for blogging tecnologists looking for ways to make tools more useful and intutitive(once we grant them permission to be so on our individual behalf.)