Recent Activity Pt 2: Canada & Boston

Immediately following IIW (post here). I headed to Canada to speak at the International Women in Digital Media Summit.

The iWDMS brings together professionals from traditional and digital media communities, as well as educational/research institutions from around the world.  With high level keynotes, cross-sector dialogue, expert panelists, controversial debates and structured networking, the Summit will promote knowledge-sharing, and will explore innovation, skills gaps, policy and research in digital media–including gaming, mobile, and social media–and the impacts on and advancements by women globally. 

I gave an “Ideas and Inspiration”  talk for 20 min about the Personal Data Ecosystem called The Old Cookies are Crumbling: How Context & Persona aware personal data servcies change everything and will transform the world and was also on a panel about New Media Literacies.

There are a few things I took away from this event:

1) Countries like Canada are very small with just 30 million people and the center of commercial/intellectual life in Toronto an event like this really brings together a core group of high profile women in the media production business that represents much of the industry.

2) Both the government of Canada, provinces like Ontario and universities like Ryerson  are very serious about attracting and retaining top technology and media talent with a variety of tax and investment incentives.

3) See point (1) because of that …one must think internationally about appeal and distribution of any media across the whole world not just one market.

4) The way they talk about diversity used lang had language I never heard before the term “designated groups” included folks with disabilities, first nations people (in the US they would be “American Indians”), women, and ethnic minorities.

5) The idea that people shouldn’t be stalked around the web to “monetize” them was new and provoked some thinking amongst those who made their living developing metrics.

It was great to connect to Canada again and I hope that with the IIW coming up in Toronto in February some of the women who I met there can attend and consider how media can change with new tools for people to manage their identity and data.

I got to meet up with Aran Hamilton  (@Aranh) who coordinated efforts around the NSTIC of Canada in Toronto. We outlined the possibility of a Satellite IIW in Toronto and I learned more about what is going on there.  Basically up to point  (1) above…Canada is small.  95% of people have a bank account and of that something like 85% have accounts with one of 5 banks (Bank of Montreal, Toronto Dominion Bank/Canada Trust, CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotia Bank) and there are 3 telco’s. So it seems like getting an NSTIC like system in place in Canada could involves meetings with a few dozen people.  They have the added advantage that Canadians have a higher trust in their government and institutions like banks and telco’s and have fewer “privacy rights” organizations.  So our IIW should be interesting and I hope that we can get some good cross over between the January 17th event in DC and this one.

After Toronto headed to the 4th MassTLC Innovation Unconference.  It was great to be joined by Briana Cavanaugh who is working with me now at UnConference.net.  The community was thriving and it was the biggest ever unconference that I have run at 800 people and lots of sessions.  Jason Calacanis who apparently has relocated to Boston was there.  Jeff Taylor was there and had a rocking “un-official” after party that he DJ’ed.   The most notable costume was a guy in a suit with a 99% on his forehead. Yes Occupy Wall Street became a halloween costume.

 

 

 

Who is free to travel?

Peace Activist apparently are not.
Medea Benjamin founder of CODEPINK and retired Colonel and diplomat Ann Wright were both denied entry into Canada.

“The fact that the FBI has put us on this list. The National Crime Information Center Computerized Index is a form of political intimidation. The list is supposed to be for felony and serious misdemeanor offenses.

“We don’t qualify– it’s for sex offenders, foreign fugitives, gang violence and terrorist organizations, people who are on parole, a list of eight categories all together.

To be criminally rehabilitated, they would have to do a huge amount of paperwork and state that they were no longer going to commit the “crimes” they were convicted of.

Wright told OpEdNews “We were told (by the canadian border agents) if we tried to enter Canada again, we would be officially deported from the country, which is “big trouble. ‘We’ve warned you not to come back until we are criminally rehabilitated.’

Wright asserted, “We will never be criminally rehabilitated since we intend to continue to engage in non-violent peaceful protest of Bush administration policies, particular the war on Iraq and we intend to peacefully and nonviolently protest all of these until they end. They can lead to arrests for civil disobedience, like refusing to move from the fence in front of the whitehouse or standing up and speaking at congressional hearings.”

Never thought THIS would happen CAN$=US$

Doc just experienced in buying a 88.60 Canadian for $100 US what I experienced my whole life but the other way around.

I wrote this a few weeks ago…the day after “it” happened. When I was growing up in Canada the American Dollar was always worth significantly more then our dollar. Some time it cost as much as 1.35 Canadian to buy one US dollar. Recently the dollar has fallen to parity. I really never thought this would happen in my life. It is happening for two reasons. Demand for natural resources is going up in the global economy – Copper, Nickel, Lumber Oil etc. all are things Canada has in large quantities and exports. The other reason is the decline of the US because of …. well we don’t have to get into all those reasons here.

Happy Belated Canada Day

Canadian Flag
First thanks to Ted Leung who took this photo last year at Gnomedex when it was Canada Day and we sang Oh Canada.

Canada day is a great Day particularly for all of us in Identity who are Canadian. The list is long and I don’t know everyone who is in the community and is Canadian. At the RSA Identity Gang Dinner we had fully 10/30 folks who were.

There is me (of course).
Kim Cameron
Paul Trevithick
Laurie Rae
Pamela Dingle
David Huska
Dick Hardt
Garrett Serack,
Kevin Miller,
Paul Madsen
Even Mike Milinkovich
(if you are not on this list and want to be let me know – I am not leaving you out on purpose just can’t do all the recall I need to do to make the list complete. I know there are several more folks on Kim’s team at MSFT.).

I have a page that has Bruce Mau essay that to me explained conciesly why we are into the topic. on why Canadians are so into Identity (It has been there for more then a year – linked from the side bar. I recommend any of you wondering about it read this – it is more complex then ‘just health care’.

I went and saw Michael Moore’s movie Sicko yesturday. It was a great film and did a good job of depicting the healthcare system I experienced growing up – see any doctor you want, get care 100% free. One of the things that got me thinking was that if the United States did figure out how to do universal health care that might really be a blow to Canadian identity. From the wikipedia article on Canadian Identity.

Much of the debate over the contemporary “Canadian identity” is argued in political terms, and defines Canada as a country defined by its government policies, which are thought to reflect deeper cultural values….such as publicly-funded health care… [that] make their country politically and culturally different from the United States.

In a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation contest to name “The Greatest Canadian“, the… highest ranking [was] social democratic politician and father of medicare Tommy Douglas.

Thanks for saying Happy Canada Day Kermit. He even quoted Marshall McLuhan musing that if he were around today he wouldn’t be surprised so many of us in identity are Canadian.

In his posthumous work The Global Village, he writes:

Yes, Canada is a land of multiple borderlines, of which Canadians have probed very few. These multiple borderlines constitute a low-profile identity, since, like the territory, they have to cover a lot of ground. The positive advantage of a low profile in the electronic age would be difficult to exaggerate.

Canada has another advantage over the USA which, sadly, resonates even more today than when McLuhan first wrote the words:

It is by an encounter with the hidden contours of one’s own psyches and society that group identity gradually develops. That Canada has had no great blood-letting such as the American Civil War, may have retarded the growth of a strong national identity, reminding Canadians that only the bloody-minded could seriously wish to obtain a group identity by such violence.

Update: Dale just sent me a link to this explaining then Canadian equivalent to “As American as apple pie”

“As Canadian as possible under the circumstances.”

Canadianness Today

Dave Winer wrote this post about patriotism and highlighted the canadian singing of O’Canada at Gnomedex.

Anyway, the last day of Gnomedex happened to fall on Canada Day, and in celebration, Chris and Ponzi brought out a big cake and the Canadians rose, and sang their national anthem, Oh Canada. I had heard it before, but never in its entirety and for some reason this time it really grabbed me. Patriotism is moving, even when it’s not your patriotism. Maybe even more so, because it doesn’t get all mixed up with personal stuff, you get to experience love of country through someone else’s eyes, and it’s really beautiful. But then I saw a friend of mine from Berkeley, Kaliya Hamlin, standing, and singing. I had to look twice and think, and then I remembered, she’s Canadian! That’s right. I’ll never forget that image, Kaliya is tall and strong, opinionated, a bit nutty (in a nice way), a leader, and underneath it all, she’s even more different from me than Jackie Robinson was, because she’s patriotic to a different country, and Robinson and I are both from the United States.

<div style=”float: right; margin-left: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px”><img style=”border: 2px solid #000000″ src=”http://static.flickr.com/74/180471515_4b3e417a54_s.jpg” /></a>
</div>This was actually a very moving moment for me to because I have been living in the united states for a about 10 years. I have not travelled back all that often. (In part cause I didn’t have the papers to return for quite a while when I was in paper limbo – yes I know what identity issues are first hand). It was just so wonderful to be an American context that celebrated the diversity in the room that included Canadians. I got to sing with my Canadian Geeky friends the anthem in front of our American Geeky friends. We got to share an identity moment together. It was lovely. Since when do you sing anything let alone anthems at tech conferences anyways.
So today I also by chance joined the Canadian Tech Mob…. the trouble is I can’t seem to get WP to actually display my recently uploaded sidebar so the code is in there just not ‘displaying’.

It isn’t just Euro’s wondering about Passports

Last week I picked up on what Tara was saying on behalf of Europeans she had spoken with about the issues surrounding biometrics embedded into passports.

Canadians are also impacted by this policy laundering and have not been consulted. It seems like a global human rights issue. Can we refuse to have our biometrics embedded in these documents? Clearly wider public discussion is needed globally.

This paper “Developing Canada’s Biometric Passport: Where are Citizens in this Picture?” is submitted for the Technology and Citizenship Symposium by Andrew Clement, and Krista Boa

The passport is the most widely used document to formally identify citizenship. Canadians, however, are being given no role in redefining this vital document, which currently is being redesigned to incorporate biometric features in accordance with recent International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and to meet new United States border crossing requirements. There is no public debate and little to no information is publicly available.

When the government does speak about this initiative it is hedged in the context of complying with international standards and increasing national security. By calling on the ICAO standard as a reason for implementing a biometric passport, Canada is seen to engage in what Ian Hosein calls “policy laundering” – nations committing to treaties and agreements in the arena of international governance that might not stand up to the scrutiny of public debate or achieve public support at home – a process that subverts democratic principles. Furthermore, evidence does not support Canada’s argument that the technological sophistication of biometrics will eliminate confusion about the identity of individuals and reduce the threat of terrorism, including when used in combination with watch lists. This paper examines constructions of identity and citizenship that biometric passport systems induce and the implications for civil liberties, particularly the right to travel. It evaluates the discourses and rhetorical strategies used to garner public support, such as positioning privacy concerns as something that must be traded off for increased security in the “war on terror.” It critically examines the decision-making process, specifically the absence of public debate, policy laundering, and the role of the biometric passport in Canada-U.S. border policy. Lastly, it suggests ways in which Canadian citizens can play a more appropriate role in the design, implementation, regulation, and governance of the most prominent document of Canadian citizenship – the passport.

Elusive Universal IM maybe closer to discovery..

Scott Schecter is on the hunt:

It’s a bit of a hack in its current format, and what a surprise MSN doesn’t play nice, but instructions can be found here on how to use Google Talk as a universal IM client*. It basically exposes Jabber transports for the other protocols for functionality. Cool, but I think I’ll keep hunting

*The universal IM is an elusive little critter that is believed to live in Canada somewhere. It talks to all IM networks, but does not communicate effectively with any, you have been warned.

My Olympic “identity”

So I am picking up from popular culture that the Olympics are happening now. Some of you may not know that I spent many years of my life dreaming about playing in the Olymics and actually training with an eye towards oventual competition there. I made it to the Pan-American Games (the regional version of the Olympics for countries in North and South America the year before the summer games and run by the Olympic Associations of the various countries.)

I have two articles that talk about my journey towards and then away from the games. Why I’m Skipping the Olympics covers this

Like all other hopefuls, I gave up a great deal to make the Olympic team. I moved away from friends and family, lived well below the poverty line for years and put my education on hold in order to hone my athletic skills. I made these sacrifices because I loved playing water polo and because I wanted to compete with the best.

and Resisting the McOlympics covers some other elements of my critique.

The Olympic Movement sets high aims in its charter. To me, “Respecting the dignity of the human race” does not mean licensing the symbol of Olympic ideals to the world’s leading producers of junk food. I eventually resigned my position on the Canadian Team, in part at least because I couldn’t stomach the idea that my finest performance, made at the peak of my athletic career, would be used by the “supreme authority of the Olympic Movement,” the IOC, in a deeply flawed co-branding venture. Today the universal and permanent symbol of the five rings is co-branded with McDonald’s and Coke.

In 2002 I flew out to Salt Lake City for the Games there and a Conference called Global Justice in the Shadow of the Olympics. A reporter from the Salt Lake weekly covered my appearance there.

In 1999, a journalist found [Kaliya] Young’s name on a list of athletes who would participate in the Olympics. The reporter asked her what she, as an athlete, thought about the scandal that would eventually put an ugly blemish on the Olympic organizers in Salt Lake City and the International Olympic Committee.

When the reporter sent those questions, Young said she found herself thinking about a lot more than just the Salt Lake scandal. “I began to think about the deeper meaning of the Olympics and how I was involved in that larger system,” she said. “My competitive performance would not be just a part of a world community gathering to compete in the spirit of fair play, good will and global unity, but rather it would be sold to the highest corporate bidder for their own commercial gain.”

Reform is needed, she said. But she doesn’t know what that means. Without corporate sponsors, where would the Olympics be? “I don’t have the answers. I just think there needs to be some deeper questions asked about the Olympic Games. And, most importantly, those questions need to be answered by a wider range of people. The IOC is unelected, self-appointing and it doesn’t answer to anybody.”

….she said she still has tremendous respect for the athletes who compete at such an intense level.

“I admire the athletes and I don’t think anyone should walk out or abandon the Games. I just had a lot of questions. The answers I found helped lead me to a decision to step out of the Olympic movement. And nothing I’ve learned since then has done anything but validate that decision,” she said.

Today I am quite distressed to hear that the olympics have made it a rule that Olympians can not blog HELLO have you heard of freedom of speech.

11 11 11 11 identity on remembrance day

I took this picture at Karin Miller’s house. It is the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This was when world war one ended. Remembrance Day.

This day shaped my identity as a Canadian. We had a remembrance day service every year at school in which we did two things gracefully. Remembering what war is really like and horrible it is (and that we should not do it again ever if at all possible) and a deep honoring of those who did fight in World War One, Two and the Korean War. Veterans sell poppies (plastic ones) starting just before Halloween and the money goes towards veterans. It is the last holiday in Canada before Christmas (we have a micro version of US thanksgiving on the first Monday of October.)

We had the day off and it was not just a bank holiday but a ‘real holiday’ where shat down. My family often watched services on TV or went to them.

I am sad that I did not get to experience remembrance day now that I am in America – it is deep. The days that are different here are numerous and the way we honor them in Canada are part of my identity. It is interesting to watch how when the days happen and you sort of participate but not participate. They you don’t have your ‘own version’ and elements of your identity slip away.

Just something to think about in identity land.

Canada Exploring Web Servalance

I often think my country of origin would do things like the following from the Winsor Star:

The federal cabinet will review new legislation this fall that would give police and security agencies vast powers to begin surveillance of the Internet without court authority.

The new measures would allow law-enforcement agents to intercept personal e-mails, text messages and possibly even password-secure websites used for purchasing and financial transactions.

Geist said the version of the legislation that was circulated by the government failed to protect the privacy and legal rights of citizens. It also placed a severe requirement on Internet service providers to hold data and records of Internet and e-mail use by their clients.

He said the draft version allowed police the right to telephone Internet service providers around the clock, and require them to provide records and data on client files within 30 minutes.

I am reminded of the EFF talk from last week at NTEN with the analogy that we would never tolerate the government photo coping and retaining all of our snail mail but some how in the digital realm it is ok.

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Canadians in Identity – Canadian’s Identity: The Essay Series Begins

Burton Group‘s Catalyst Conference was great for several reasons. One of them included the fact they actually had a BOF (Birds of a Feather) session for Canadians.
Last time I was in Seattle over at Kim Cameron and Adel’s house enjoying a glass of wine before dinner with Paul Trevithick, Drummond myself. Drummond was the only non-Canadian there and we got to talking about why there was so many Canadians working in this niche of the industry. I think part of the reason is because of the Canadian cultural obsession with identity. I have found what I hope will be a series of essays that good job of explaining this.

The first is the middle section of an essay by Bruce Mau a Canadian Designer entitled the United States of Switzerland.

If you have other articles that help explain this let me know and I will grow the collection.

Canada has some crazy laws too.

Canada has some crazy laws too. I kind of was thinking of Canada where I was born as the ‘friendly’ nation to the north but it seems not to be true :(.

Before privacy laws or the Charter, there was little if anything to stop police or national security operatives from cajoling or coercing information from private sector organizations. A civic-minded government department or company could blab all it wanted about its customers or employees.

Our privacy laws changed this, although they didn’t really try to put a stop to it. In BC, our public sector privacy law gives public bodies discretion to disclose personal information for law enforcement purposes, without warrant, but there are (some would argue, weak) constraints on this. The same can be said for our private sector privacy law. Still, these laws, together with the Charter, have until recently insulated against over-enthusiastic private sector co-operation with all and sundry state inquiries. Is this still true? If it is, how long will this last?

After the 9/11 attacks, governments everywhere felt compelled to act, and to be seen to act. This was in an important sense responsible of government. It was also mandated by political Darwinism. But a profoundly important aspect of the post-9/11 changes is the blurring of lines between collection and use of personal information for law enforcement purposes under criminal and other penal laws and use for national security purposes. A defining characteristic of police states is the blurring of distinctions between law enforcement and national security functions, the danger being that the rule of law eventually gives way to arbitrary decision-making by law enforcement authorities and the rights of ordinary citizens lose meaning. Democracies depend on clear and effective rules suited to the state activities that the rules are intended to govern and that reflect the essential values of a free society.

In Canada, post-9/11 amendments to the Customs Act and regulations authorize officials to require private sector organizations to provide border officials with extensive advance information about arriving passengers. These changes expanded the federal government’s ability to use and share that information, not only for national security purposes, but also for ordinary law enforcement and other purposes, including (according to government statements in 2002) public health surveillance. The information-sharing authority includes a broad ability to share personal information about Canadians and others with foreign governments. The amendments don’t restrict information-sharing arrangements to national security uses they could easily include ordinary law enforcement or other purposes defined on a case-by-case basis or in an agreement with another nation.

Also, Public Safety Act amendments to the Aeronautics Act allow the RCMP Commissioner to require any air carrier or operator of an air reservation system to, for the purposes of transportation security, disclose specified information in its control to any person the Commissioner designates. Despite the Public Safety Act reference to transportation security, the amendments allow this data to be matched with other data and to be disclosed to assist in executing certain outstanding arrest warrants. This effectively compels the private sector to assist the state, in the absence of a warrant or court order, in surveillance of all air travellers for the broader general purposes of both national security and ordinary law enforcement.

Consistent with these powers to conscript the private sector into both national security and law enforcement activities, Public Safety Act amendments to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) permit private sector organizations to collect personal information without an individual’s knowledge or consent in circumstances that amount to an invitation to, and in some cases compulsion of, the private sector to assist the state in surveillance for both general national security and ordinary law enforcement purposes.

The Public Safety Act also amended the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to authorize the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada to collect information it considers relevant to money laundering or financing of terrorist activities from publicly available information, including commercially available databases. FINTRAC is also authorized to obtain, under information-sharing agreements, information maintained by federal or provincial governments for law enforcement or national security reasons.

FINTRAC expanded powers point to the fact that, when it comes to co-opting the private sector, 9/11 can’t be blamed for everything. Laundering of dirty money was of sufficient concern before 9/11 to lead to extensive transaction-reporting requirements for banks and others. You can easily find other examples of legislative responses to individually pressing policy challenges that draft private sector organizations into state service in the name of public safety or order. One example is the current federal government lawful access proposals, some of which would apparently require ISPs to hand over at least identifying customer information and perhaps more on simple request by state officials, and for a pretty broad range of uses.

Also, at the local level, at least in BC, we see more and more local government bylaws compelling businesses to hand customer information over to police for a variety of reasons. Pawnshop reporting requirements have been around for a long time, but now were seeing bylaws requiring businesses to regularly give police information, without request, in a variety of situations (such as information who’s been buying pepper spray, hydroponic supplies or chemicals that could be used to make drugs and who’s been renting mailboxes at commercial mailbox centres).

And governments are now large purchasers of personal information from the private sector. So far this is being seen mostly in the US think of Total Information Awareness, MATRIX, Secure Flight and so on but to think that our own governments will ignore the expanding private sector trove of electronic personal information much longer.

As databases proliferate, become more comprehensive and become lifelong, it’ll be harder and harder to resist those who say that, since the information is out there, the state should be able to use it. Time and time again over the last six years I’ve been told by middle-aged, middle class Caucasian males that they have nothing to hide, so why should anyone else feel differently? Let the government have the information it needs to protect us, they say.

Now, I don’t doubt the good faith of BC’s police agencies not for a minute. But, thinking thirty or fifty years down the road to a time when the lines between national security and law enforcement have blurred to vanishing, will there be any meaningful rules? If not, will our belief in the good faith of state officials, set adrift without guiding rules, be enough to sustain our privacy and other rights?

Community Blogging -> Semantic Social Network

I just found this link to a talk given at Northern Voice on Community Blogging by Stephen Downes

He wonders about how we manage to pull off the Semantic Social Network. It seems that a key element is functional digital identity for people. I extracted some highlights for you all:

(pssst – he works for the National Research Council of Canada so we might talk with him about XRI/XDI/IC.)

Now my field of study is online learning. That’s where my expertise lies, and I actually don’t really know very much about social networks or blogs or things like that. In online learning… learning – schools, universities – they’re almost the prototypical communities, aren’t they? You gather all these people into one place, you organize them into classes, you get a bunch of subjects together, you slice and dice the range of knowledge that people are supposed to have in order to become productive and obedient members of society.

….

But community as networks of semantic relations, that’s where the connections between members of the community are based on the meaning of those members or of the entities in the network. In other words, in order to create community, rather than a power law, we don’t simply pick the most popular or the most available, we pick the most salient connection.

Well. What does that mean? How does something become the most salient connection? Well we need to analyze, or look at, at least for a moment, what a post means. Or what anything means. What a resource means. Now I say that, I’m saying, what does this post, or this person, or this resource, say about the world?

….

How do you know the meaning of a word? You look at how people use it, you look at the context, you look at who uses it, where they use it, what the environment is in which it has been used, what other words are around it, and if you define meaning in that way, then the meaning of a word can’t be stated as a set of necessary and sufficient conditions. It becomes something very different, something that Wittgenstein called ‘family resemblances’. Now I was looking at the word ‘community’ and looking for definitions of community, one of the posts, or one of the definitions that I read was, “Well, community is like pornography. I don’t know what it is but I recognize it when I see it.” And it’s that sort of sense of meaning inherent in a word, in a post, and indeed, in a person.

Two ways of looking at the world.

Because there are two ways of looking at the world. One way is to look at the world from the point of view of words. And you try to describe things. Another way of looking at the world is to look at the patterns. And try to see what emerges out of them. If you look at the diagram there, that little messy bit of lines and dots is a concept. Could be any concept, could be a blog post, could be the word ‘Paris’, could be your self-identity. Now if you use words, you cut through that cluster like a knife and you get a one-dimensional partial representation, you get an abstraction, but if you look at it from the point of view of patterns, then the meaning of that concept emerges from that cluster of entities and relations.

….

Future learning environments place the individual at the centre – that’s where it says ‘Future VLE’ – and a range of resources that they bring in, or that they aggregate, from a wide variety of different sources. Notice he has 43 Things on there. That actually places that diagram at a precise moment in history. And if you look at community in this picture, then you’re able to draw out a theory of community, where a community is defined by three major components. First, as a means of organizing input and experience. Second, as a means of putting that experience into context. What does it mean to you here now? And then third, and very importantly, as a means of taking what you’ve done, what you’ve remixed, what you’re repurposed, and putting it out there so it can become part of someone else’s meaning. Just imagine how the copyright barons look at this model of organization, right? Community is antithetical to copyright, and conversely.

The idea here is that the community is defined as the relations between the members where the relations have semantical value, where that semantical value is defined by the relations. And I know it sounds like bootstrapping, but we’ve been doing that throughout history. People exist in relations to other people, to things, to resources, even to spaces.

So how do we pull this off? We can’t just blast four million blogs, eight quadrillion blog posts, out there, and hope Technorati will do the job, because Technorati won’t do the job, because Technorati represents the whole four million things and I’m not interested in three million nine hundred and ninety-nine of those. What has to happen is this mass of posts has to self-organize in some way. Which means there has to be a process of filtering. But filtering that is not just random. And filtering that isn’t like spam blocking. Filtering has to be a mechanism of determining what it is we want, because it’s a lot easier to determine what we want than what we don’t want.

My contention is that instead of the spike-based power-law-based Instapundit-based network, that when we get something like the semantic social network, and we will get something like the semantic social network, because it’s very simple to do, patterns of organization will be created. In the field of neural networks and connectionism they tyem ‘clusters’, you get a cluster phenomenon where we’re not creating communities around a specific word, or specific concept, but the community itself emerges as being created by and defined as that particularly dense set of connections.

XRI/XDI opportunity in Higher Education

WOW this is a cool opportunity for the XRI/XDI crowd – along with CivicSpace.

Reported by Abject Learning in May:

What did we propose to do? Nothing less than creating and sharing a framework for social software applications for BC’s higher education institutions. In less grandiose terms, we have proposed to create a set of policy recommendations, tutorials, templates, and multimedia resources that can be reused by a school that wants to support weblogging and wiki use (and possibly other social software tools) for its own community. We also hope to foster a community-centered model for sharing expertise amongst practitioners attempting to develop their own projects.

We intend the project to be platform-agnostic: we will definitely be using Movable Type and Drupal, but do our best to ensure that resources we create are not tied in with any one system. If possible, we might partner with mini-projects using tools such as WordPress, ELGG, or even Blogger.

It seems like it would be a lot easier for students if they could use a single log-in I-name across different institutions and schools.