... see "100th Monkey"
A right spooky coincidence: within an hour of commiting a comment on RWW's "Web3.0" post I came across an astonishing resonance in another blog: thanks to Richard McManus's (quite unrelated) tweet I found myself in "one company, ten brands: lessons from retail for tech companies" at Danah Boyd's "apophenia :: making connections where none previously existed". ("Making connections" indeed! This has got me muttering "co-emergence"!)
A piece of that post practically echoed what I had written so slightly earlier that same evening, i.e.
"Personalization is more than skinning and moving modules around. Give me a blank slate and let me add modules that might be relevant to me. Alternatively, make some good initial guesses based on what you know about me and let me modify them from the getgo"That accords perfectly with what I had just wrote ... not an hour earlier. (I know there's a fine term for "oddly coincidental" ... I thought "xenosynchrony" and now can't think of it.)
In RWW's "Web3.0 is About Personalization" I had commented thusly [slightly edited for readability]:
"I'm going to suggest a slight refinement to "personalization" ... not a contradiction, not at all, but taking a vector away from the most immediately obvious sense of O'Brien's "decentralized asynchronous me."
Thinking of a typical FaceBook or MySpace page *OMG, a stabbing pain in my forehead!* what comes to mind is, well, typical DailyMe. My books, my new"friends", rel-me rel-me rel-me or the most superficial sort.
How about s/personalization/customization ... yaa, that stuff.
Why should I have to accept FaceBook's look? MySpace trolled all sorts of activity by letting folk /really/ personalize ... at least the look.
Why not extend that? Best practices of NetVibes + MySpace + FaceBook ... functionality, permissions, inclusions, feeds, widgets, controls, buttons, the whole enchilada.
And what happens in the end? Users will have in effect one seamless interface ... "sites" disappear; their functionalities appear on the fully customized interface as though services.
There's nothing http that isn't virtual ... so why are their constraints so real and actual?
Fine, sites and companies plow a lot into design, sure. But if they succeed in attracting users, what is there about limiting the user's abilities that leads to retention? A: nuthin' at all. Get'em in, sign'em up, then turn'em loose ... stream them what they want in whatever wrapper they want. Brand what's viewed, not the viewport.
Anyhow, betcha a least a majority will opt for default settings."
I wrapped up my comment at "apophenia" with this: "I'll add something in this context: information providers have to realize that the medium may be the message, but the packaging is not the product. (And if it's otherwise then I hope they go out of business pronto.)"
p.s. just a thought ... I won't tweet this one: anybody who thinks Web2.0 is actually and truly "social" has a sadly, a frighteningly empoverished view of human nature. We don't just want better ... we need better. We deserve better. Is all.
Your "and my thoughts were uncontrollably unleashed" about the wash of web platforms ties in directly with something I started working on yesterday: so many of the people I talk to seem submerged in a tsunami of information day in day out.
For me, I watch the tsunami from shore as I bob along ... project-oriented, I am. I won’t say that my work "anchors" me, because it isn’t fixed like a rock. And yet it’s something like that ... a constant still-point around which (to mix metaphors) the information I encounter orders itself into meaningful constellations, rich with inter-connections, perhaps chaotic, but nothing like the rush of a waterfall. (Is that the third metaphor? or only a return to the 1st? *grin*)
There’s not a lot more I love more than "gate-keeper" ... as when acting as librarian in a hi-tech firm ... steering hard-pressed engineers and technologists towards something that might just do the trick ... I love that.
But now here I’m responding more to your title than to the bulk of your post: "think opposite" is something I learned with my first business plan, creating a 5-year cash-flow project. (How’s /that/ for a flight of fancy huh huh ... creative fiction!) I found myself being harsh. What could I break but the bottom line on my spreadsheet? I found myself adjusting the plan and the model and then trying to kick holes in it. Eventually I found one configuration that, well, didn’t want to sink!
I’ve applied something like that to techniques and tools ... I call it "disconfirmation". (Which, BTW, I spent over 5 years doing with ConceptMapping. Left me in a hole, but when I worked my way out of that hole I had ... what I have: a novel approach.)
If I can dis-confirm something in, say, 2 months ... then those 2 months may have kept me from committing 2 years to a dead-end.
I just created / started work on "HomelessnessCohousing" on my wiki and, given my situation and the absolute lack of collaboration I've experienced over the past dozen years I've been on the web, I had to ask myself what you're doing.
Striving for gain, or getting done what need be done?
I've been facilitating communications for more than 3 decades. It's not about me being able to trouble-shoot NORAD/SAC's troposcatter system, or having installed industrial-scale Motorola radio networks. It's about me being there with the right tool ready when you turn around to ask. (Not making you ask is good for you but it's good for me, too. When you aren't busying me with menial chores I'm research best practices, so when I'm "at the ready" I get to suggest the tool or method or process or technique ... if you ask, likely you'll low-ball the solution. It's about being right on the dot, kinda like Radar in "M.A.S.H.")
Point is: any working person will know about office politics and the dynamics that drive it, such as "Imposter Syndrome", that creepy feeling that you're out of your depth and over-committed. That sort of under-tow works to create a situation where people are all just a little bit off balance ... reactive, oppositional, perhaps combative, likely defensive.
Bottom line is that when egos are involved and material resources are at stake folk become "risk averse" and more ... they play the game they've known the best, the rules they've played the longest ... and high-school personality politics take over.
I'm not there. I've paid the price of opting out of all that. (I had my run at careerism; I've had my jet-set hops to the next city for supper or the next state for the weekend. Thanks, but no thanks. I've got work to do.) The market may in the end make rational decisions concerning production and distribution, but personality politics (and the incompetence it spawns) is the thin edge of a wedge I call corruption.
Nobody derails me ... but nobody supports me. So, as a free lance, I'm vulnerable. If I happen to slip on the icy front-steps of my house and suffer a severe concussion (which I did) there's nobody there to secure my work and so I'm likely to loose my position and access to material resources (which is what happened). If I happen to suffer a criminal home invasion (which I did) there's nobody there to bail me out if my escape leaves me with two broken feet from the fall to the sidewalk (which is what happened).
And worst of all: the work I've done year after year is marginalized because (and here's the punchline) there are no A-list egos involved ... so they don't care ... and high-school politics demand that they set the agenda, not the likes of me.
So, really, it's fixed. And web-work for the public good gets throttled to maximize the gain of a few ... zero-sum game.
What's the tipping point? For some agile entity to step up ... B5, or SocialText, or CBC radio ... or one of the many university groups that congregate around the subject.
bentrem.sycks.net/gnodal/ ... no, I didn't spell it out. But please, tell me this: why does nobody respond to anything I've written there? Is it perhaps that you don't care? (But you maintain the persona of a sensitive and responsive person, don't you?) That you don't understand? (But you maintain the persona of someone who's up to speed on such as social software, don't you?)
Isn't it more as though you feel like responding to me would mark you as being a traitor ... to what? Wouldn't that signal your disloyalty ... to whom?
Knowledge is political. Control of knowledge is power. Tools are not inevitably neutral.
What controls innovation? What moves people, conditions them, directs their activity ... ambition, greed, resentment, fear ... the under-belly of mundane politics.
=== By Way of Context ===
Years ago when I was researching psychopathology (see my dusty old "Fallen Angels") I connected with a professor who'd just testified in front of a Senate sub-committee. His point was simple: establishing an Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children would abolish homelessness and even poverty itself. That was 1996 and 1997. Has anything much changed? --BenTremblay 15:02, 18 February 2008 (PST)
== Post Script ==
Hand-wringing About American Culture - "Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?"New York Times book review 14FEB08 (Susan Jacoby' "The Age of American Unreason", with mention of Lee Siegel’s "Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob"
"[Jacoby] pointed to a 2006 National Geographic poll that found nearly half of 18- to 24-year-olds don’t think it is necessary or important to know where countries in the news are located. So more than three years into the Iraq war, only 23 percent of those with some college could locate Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel on a map."
What has informed my work is this set of numbers from cog-psych/discourse analysis: most people have strong opinions, but only about 60% can put forward arguments in support of those opinions. The kicker is that the majority of those arguments are logically flawed, either the data is wrong or the logic is specious. Democratic participatory deliberation anyone? I'm talking discourse, Socratic method, propositional hypothesis testing and evidence-based decision support ... but highschool-style personality politics rule.
"Don't be lucid and ironic. People will turn it against you saying, 'Ah-ha, you see? He isn't a nice person'."