*X-posted from my blog on http://GlobalSenseMaking.net*Micah Sifry quoted this in his post about the IntenseDebate deployment on Change.Gov:
"I just wanted to say thank you for giving us a place to make our thoughts and comment heard. It's about time the government provide a centralized place for citizens to express their opinions where they feel they will be heard." [Emphasis added by him there.]
My response to him on Twitter was this:
"With 3.7K / 53 pages of comments (and the thread closed), you say ID on Change.Gov is a place people can go to be heard?! #koolaid"
In effect, this says that standing in a crowd with 3,699 other people and holding up a placard is a brave step forward for engaged democracy.
That's non-sense ... and worse: it leads to complacent self-delusion, entirely antithetical to the drive for innovation.
Sidebar: I noticed that Sifry has blocked me on Twitter ...
... to that, I tweeted this: " Well, after years of cold-shoulder I finally got a reaction: blocked by none other than @Mlsif, the high-priest of democracy. #borg #matrix "
The ironies are ripe ... and entirely keeping with what might seem a cynical appraisal on my part: those who are charged with the responsibility of applauding the Emperor's new clothes are doing just that.
Such behavior has consequences.
Most immediately ... well, most immediately is that folk like Micah Sifry are not charged to new levels of aggression rather than deniable disdain and silent contempt. (I notice my login failed at http://www.techpresident.com ... that's Sifry's bully pulpit. He wouldn't do that, would he? That would be positively Soviet.)
Almost as immediately: folk are lulled (or cowed) into mute appreciation. Unless they join the cheering.
Here's what I added to a discussion about ID on Change.Gov:
I like the IntenseDebate crew and project ... but the system is basically a Web2.0 version of 1997 functionality for threading comments. (HyperNews comes to mind ... Daniel LaLiberte's project)
Folk who don't think we need better don't realize the real challenge civil society is facing.
I think we need more ... and I think the Transition Team and the Obama Administration deserve better. We all do.
Adding a few lines on what becomes page 27 of 53 isn't "participatory deliberation" ... it isn't anywhere close to "Democracy 2.0".
It took me 28 years to derive a design ... Jurgen Habermas' "discourse ethics" combined with John Willinsky's "OpenAccess" ... but I can't get a hearing.
Until and unless we recognize the problems there will be no substantive change ... Spin2.0 is still just spin.
And nobody wants to settle for that.
p.s. a note on communications (I was SigInt BTW):
I've sent Feedback a number of notes saying that the footer here breaks in FireFox.
Each time I did, my note was blocked because the form doesn't accept the postal code we use in Canada. The form says it does, but it doesn't. It only works with US ZIP. I use the one for the WhiteHouse (and make a point of saying so).
The footer here still breaks in FireFox ...
... and the form still doesn't accept Canadian Postal Code.
God's in the details, ehh whot?"
I'm sure that such thinking will mark me as an enemy to those who flock to High Priests such as Micah Sifry.
Which goes to show how techne is controlled by social dynamics. Lawrence Lessig was right: moneyed opinions are privileged in decision making, and that needs to be changed. But I say again: that's only part of the picture.
When the oligarchs' partiality is exercised through gross wealth it can be seen and tracked, if not always easily.
When the oligarchs' partiality is manifest through the activity of middle-men, in effect a fifth column, then the common understanding is degraded and the dominant paradigm wins by default. (Read: opportunistic careerists will rationalize the most abominable outrages.)
Unlike the flat/linear format of ID which swamps the vast majority of voices (deniably, which makes the effect only more dangerous for being insidious) what's needed is a method that promotes no individual utterance ... one that proceeds by quality of its content ... one that manifests something of Hesse's glasperlenspiel.
That, IMNSHO, is the need.
But where's the market pull?
Flash ... buzz ... fun ... appearance.
Have some koolaid ... I'm sure Sifry's got a pitcher full of it on his office desk.
p.s. about an hour ago I had an honest.to.god Eureka moment ... that makes ?what? maybe 3 in 54 years. I was yet again going over my theory concerning taxonomy / ontology, tags and categories, topics and subjects, and on and on ... going back over what I've implemented, all the way back to '75 and the resources library database (cards with holes punched along their edges, to be sorted with knitting needles. I adore that!) ... and for no real good reason OLAP came to mind ... OLAP cube ... maybe I visualized a Rubik's cube, I'm not sure ... but it fell into place. IssuePress.com has legs!
With the fixation on success as means to an end I have to wonder, why have studied Phillipe of Macedon, the greatest of great orators? (Want proof of rhetoric? Study his son. *beat* Oh, sorry, I forgot you were ill-lit-rut: Alexander. Yaa, that Alexander. The power of his father's principled nature drove him mad. *shrug* Bummer ... I cudda advised him. You think you're benighted? How'bout that hero?!)
So it comes to this: nice folk like Brett, safely ensconced within the domain of tech docs, to ponder communications. That they are at one remove from the cutting edge of those moral ambiguities is their fate; they are in a self-validating realm. I don't envy them.
Given that rhetoric is morally ambiguous, what would those nice / successful people have to say about sophistry?
To the point: why have I once again posted here. So many posts ... so many hours ... so many days, weeks, months, years ... what brings me here again?
Perhaps it's that butter wouldn't melt in Brett's mouth.
Works for me.
With Obama's massively successful campaign I've watched Web2.0 do what it does best: drive money.
Now ... now what?
Since the mid-70s I've been surveying the field as I tried to enable civil society with the best IT.
And, as some of you know, the mid-70s was a pretty harsh time ..
East Timor, apartheid coming to a head in South Africa ... harsh.
This hard on the heels of the war in Vietnam ... Cambodia and all that.
And, more personally for me, Chile.
As an airborne-ready SigInt operator I served by interdicting the Evil Empires' attempts to over-throw democratic regimes.
My group interdicted as they tried ... ... but then my group did. I mean we over-threw the democratically elected government in Chile.
Of course cracker trash-talkers will say Allende was a flaming-red Commie ... ... just like they said that Obama was a socialist with ties to terrorist friends.
Crackers don't change much over time.
Does anything? Sure: the tactics for manufacturing concensus and the tecniques for driving money.
Will Obama's oh-so capable team transform the field of governance with something like what I call "participatory deliberation"?
I have reason for hoping so ... lots of reasons ... age old reasons, too, since we're talking about the emancipation project itself.
But is there reason for optimism? I dunno ... it's up to us.
"Yes, we can!" is only operative if we get off our butts.
Crackers and red-necks are going to push Obama's principles towards the ditch.
We can stop that if we try ... if.
But I'm no cynic: given the tools, we'll do the work.
But tools don't grow on trees.
Technology doesn't sprout up out of the ground.
So those who control the money control the agenda ... as usual.
And ain't it a coincidence that Obama takes on a nation that's on the brink ... some coincidence!
* cut/paste draft *
"February 2, 2007: "Last fall, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I gave a talk entitled Superpatrons and Superlibrarians. Joining me for this week’s podcast are the two guys who inspired that talk. The superpatron is Ed Vielmetti, an old Internet hand who likes to mash up the services proviced by the Ann Arbor District Library. That’s possible because superlibrarian John Blyberg, who works at the AADL, has reconfigured his library’s online catalog system, adding RSS feeds and a full-blown API he calls PatREST.
I’ve written from time to time about Eric von Hippel’s notion of user innovation toolkits and the synergistic relationship between users and developers that can develop around such toolkits. [...]"
"I had a great chat with Jon Udell and Ed Vielmetti last week during a recorded podcast that Jon has made available on his new blog. Jon is a great podcaster--he has the ability to make a session feel like a conversation and less like an interview which makes for a very interesting and enjoyable experience as one of the participants.
Anyway, we talked about superlibrarians and superpatrons within the context of Eric Von Hippel’s notion of "lead users." This is an area that should be of great interest to libraries--specifically, how do we identify those lead users, then enable them to mash-up, remix, and create services, tools, and content."
"I just finished another cut-n-paste-a-thon. In February it focused on scraping out a couple of month’s worth of blog posts and jptweets1.jpg pasting them into Many Eyes to create "real" tag clouds based on actual content instead of the author’s bookmarking.
This time, I was scraping a month’s worth of Tweets."
"Re: "real" tag clouds based on actual content instead of ..." A noble sentiment!
A couple of days ago (yesterday?) Peter Westwood released a cloud of contributers to WordPress 2.5. Brilliantly parsimonious, yes? (I would have left the numbers off because it's dealing with individuals but *shrug*.) What I saw as absent is how the cloud could be used as an interface / portal to richer information. (For me most everything is a dashboard ... "mandala theory", doncha know.)
I visited TagCrowd.com ... *plop-plop fizz-fizz* after providing the URL for my project’s quasi-bibliography I became the proud father of a sweet/primitive data-based cloud. (I’ve tweaked the font sizes there; TagCrowd really should offer min/max as a configuration item.)
All of this is great fun. But ... where’s the beef?
It’s cute. And it’s totally dead-ended. (Tranform a "silo" into a planter so as to allow the tree to shoot up out of it?)
I’m reminded of my first sessions using PsychLit; with so much functionality, there just has to be a way of having it jump up and make toast. I optimized my PsychLit searches and was handsomely rewarded.
Looking at clouds, pondering VRML and visualizations of multivariate analysis, I can’t help thinking that we’re just one step away from some very richly interactive information.
My point is this: ATM clouds seem to me to be data, rather than information. I suspect we will be handsomely rewarded when we transform them by enriching them with another layer of interactivity. Or two.
I can see a way of using them as ?what? a partial product ... the interim step in a process that finds who’s like who, or which document is like which others ... comparing clouds in a cloudy sky, if you will. ("CloudySky" ... a good name for a software suite?)
*I've been in "stealth mode" for years ... cat definitely in the bag.*A while back I did a little online work for a guy on the other side of the Atlantic ... just helping him re-design the frontpage of his commercial site. Not rocket science, but not thumb-twiddling either. Thing is, he had no means of paying me. I don't have credit card, so paypal is out. So I decided to start the implementation phase of my project and arranged for him to get me an account at DreamHost. And that's where things stand. But now the time has come for me to renew that account and secure my domain name. Well, I just let the cat's head out:
Predendum: (Ohhhhh I know that's not a word ... give it a break ... this is being added later, but at the head ... so it's not appended and as addendum ... get it? prepended addendum? *sigh* fohget it.)
Rereading the body of this after reading Ed Yourdon's thoughtful composition got me remembering when things made sense because we had at least one foot on the ground at all times and both feet down most of the time i.e. when I was doing hard-nosed comms we had reason for doing things the way we did i.e. our tools were designed with a certain task and chore and method in mind, rather than "Oooh, here's a neat prototype module, what can I make this do?" as it is now.
For example TELCO order wires. /This/ machine was chattering away incessantly (think of Twitter) whereas /that/ machine ... when /that/ machine chehrklungked into action you hopped to it. No such on the web. No functional equivalent. No operational analog.
Know why? Cuz the web is excellent at churn ... many oceans of trivia ... and dozens of trivial chores ... and many A-list-types who've mastered ?what? triviality. (see the image/text block at the end of this post)
Wanna read something interesting? Read about designing and building the first Polaris-class submarine. An impossible task. With that challenge we ended up with PERT and Gantt ... and NASA methods. (Anybody who comments about this paragraph will be rewarded with an apocryphal anecdote concerning PERT. Honest.)So anyhow, here's a chunk or 3 from Ed's "Blogging versus Micro-blogging":
"while I’ve been writing “formal” blog postings for approximately four times longer than I’ve been twittering, I’ve published roughly 5.5 times fewer blogs than tweets. Or to put it another way, my frequency of twittering is approximately 22 times greater than my frequency of blogging. [...] while my behavior might possibly be unique in this respect, my hunch is that you’ll find a similar disparity between twittering and blogging among other Internet users.
I think I’ll continue taking advantage of both blogging and micro-blogging (i.e., Twittering). Blogging is great for writing a page or two of reasonably serious commentary on some topic of interest; and Twittering is great for brief, rapid-fire commentary. It’s also interesting that Twitter creates a much stronger sense of an active “community”: if I ask a question, tell a joke, or recommend an interesting Web site via Twitter, I’m likely to get a response from people within a matter of seconds. By contrast, if I write a thought-provoking blog posting, I may not see any comments attached to that entry until a day or two later."
What I'm intending to comment on Ed's blog arises directly from what I tweeted to him minutes after he had tweeted the post's arrival in the world, i.e. (expanded slightly) "Years ago I had a uniquely handy writing tool, something like cross-breed of programmer's editor and wordprocessor; it stored snippets of text in buffers to be recalled and stitched together later. "ThinkingCap", by Bröderbund Software ... for the C=64!"
In response to Loic Lemeur's "We used to have our social online presence very centralized, for me it was my blog. The current trend is very interesting, everything is decentralized [...] I would rather that these would be centralized on my blog instead of a third party service." Stowe Boyd wrote, "Basically, conversation is moving from a very static and slow form of conversation -- the comments thread on blog posts -- to a more dynamic and fast form of conversation: into the flow in Twitter, Friendfeed, and others. I think this directionality may be like a law of the universe: conversation moves to where is is most social." - /Message: Beyond Blogs: The Conversation Has Moved Into The Flow
My comment at Stowe's blog:
I won't go into the etiology of my concept ... I could, and it would involve a hippe-bus in '68 and RainbowFamily campfires in the late 70s ... but decades ago I saw that our democratic institutions and civil society itself needed something like coherence. (Isn't that a wonderful word? Not "structured hierarchically with authoritarian rigour" but ... cohering, nothing more. Like the bonds that entrain a dynamically balanced complex system with the consequences of its environment.)
For the record I think we have seriously mis-construed "social object". That we are, as though magpies and blue-jays, attracted to the newest shiny bobble in our view doesn't make that process social. It derives from the fact that investigating potential threats might reveal food and very probably give us a cheap thrill. But "social"? Hardly.
Chaotic systems are "ordered" in that the internal relations (hidden to our view) are deeply meaningful. What passes for social behavior, on the other can, can be little more than random fun-filled bewilderment.
I recommend you to Wiki collaboration leads to happiness (great graphic), via Euan Semple.
BTW: here's that graphic:
from Wiki collaboration leads to happiness
Re-viewing "Social Gestures Beget Social Objects" I find myself thinking about "phatic" in context of discourse ethics; communicative gestures are more than "Hi there, I'm here! but (go head, call me cynical) it seems to me that "social gestures" amount to little more than 108,000 ways of saying "Look at me, look at meeeeee!"
In his Now Can We Please Kill the Phrase "Social Media"? Steve Rubel called up something he had written in January, 2007: "With the democratization of media we've come to rely on a bunch of terms that are now completely unnecessary. These include "social media"... Do any of these matter any more? ... The reason is it's ALL media. The lexicon will hopefully change."
Hoping that "social object" would be included as collateral damage when we kill off "social media", I commented there:
An ethology experiment last decade had me re-visit my texts, grappling again to what we're doing when we apply a taxonomy, and how that relates to ontology. (I ended up applying VRML ... it had to do with foxes burying food ... when is the motion a "tamp" and when does it become a "scoop"?)
That was relevant to me because I was beavering away at how wiki (C2 had come into existence) was so different to the web logs I had been creating since '95. (If you create an open directory, where each entry has a screenshot and a block of commentary, is it a directory or a blog?) What I'm getting at is this: it comes down to operationalizing our definitions ... information is data that makes a difference; if the distinction doesn't "matter" (i.e. have substantial consequences) then its empty.
What slays me is that we don't seem to have metrics except "how many people clicked the ads"!
Speaking of having one's feet on the ground, "The Internet and its hierarchy of needs" from P2P foundation goes on at length in this vein, the post including this lovely graphic:
Technorati: Discussion about “ Design and the Elastic Mind”: "Design and the Elastic Mind"
Today at 6:21pm Bernard clicked Share", posting a link caught at technorati.com ... "Kotke.org brings the shiet: ''Design and the Elastic Mind'' from MoMa. Which likewise brings the shiet. And technorati /is/ the shiet for bringin' this shiet!"
Ooh, and there we go ... I'm off the beaten track ... a piece of work by a dear flame from that period of time, the glorious Lauchlan Learned: "Care for the Caregiver A Manual for Implementing Workshops" at CAFed's Dept't of Veteran Affairs.
(blogging the old-fashion way is kinda fun! *grin*)
A couple of days ago someone I know from Twitter blogged that he skims through 2,500 blog posts each morning. *cough* ... yaaa, ok, sure. *cough*
Just now I came across "tell me how you manage your attention. What tools and techniques do you use to stay on top of your river of information? in Sam Lawrence's "GoBigAlways", and that got me thinking about what I'd done recently for feeds.
My "trick of the month" comes out of my using NetVibes rather than google reader or BlogLines. After a long while of dragging feeds from one NV module to another I had something like a useful set of categories. What I did then was to take the tabs I read most often and aggregated them using Yahoo!Pipes (sorted chronologically, throttled according to recency) and passing the results through FeedBurner (see staffers at Automattic and AcePoliticalBlogs) and, ayup, back to NetVibes.
There, instead of a lot of tab each with perhaps dozens of modules, I can have a couple of tabs with 4 or 5 modules in each. And, of course, the individual feeds are still there, just one click away.
What I like about the Pipes functionality is that I can limit the number of items from a frequently updated blog while making sure I get the most recent 1 or 2 from one that's less active.