May Day in Albion: will future historians declare the 2010 election for social media and the people?

How will future historians look back at the UK election of 2010?

We don’t know, of course, but the primary sources will be more than the letters between politicians, the newspaper reports and memoirs of the politicians. They will probably use the data-mining skills that will be commonplace then, possibly refined for the academic researcher to carry out information archaeology on the Tweets, emails and Facebook messages that survive from the rest of us. (more…)

Creating in networks: open design and idea flows

This is a lovely video from the KS12 as part of the Berlin Social Media Week 2010 about Open Innovation. Something about it caught my eye, then something about it grabbed my thoughts, and I stayed with it through the ten minutes and was delighted I did.

It got me thinking in a few different directions:

Ideas flow through networks – let go and open up…

There’s some nice articulations of the concept of open innovation and why its important. Because constructs like authorship and how important that has become for us we tend to hang on to ideas a little tightly, think that we own them, that we can stick our little personal brand flag on the top of them and claim them for our greater glory.

Thinking about it, I’ve experienced both sides of this negatively: where people credit you with an idea when you feel you were just articulating someone else’s, and where someone else is talking about an idea that you are certain is your own. In both cases, one should really just relax. It’s important to credit thoughts and inspirations to those you received them from – that social recognition is one reward / reason that keeps our social networks moving.

Our problem is not creating data, but deleting it…

At one point?Ronen Kadushin suggests playfully that we should limit Twitter from 140 to just 20 characters as a response. More useful though would be the ability to put a time-limit on Tweets, to let them fade from view. If not being deleted, what if they had a half-life, falling out of the main search / storage systems, vanishing from the public spaces…

I liked this thought – and it also reminded me to back to the fascinating Delete, by Viktor Mayer-Sch?nberger but have since been distracted from by the arrival of the Kindle app and a new clutch of books on that. Delete focuses on the problems we face living in a world where nothing is ever deleted, but stored forever in the (darkening?) cloud. Forgetting is a natural part of human experience, he says. What happens when we can’t?

[This Canadian?radio interview with Viktor Mayer-Sch?nberger gives a good precis of the themes of Delete]

Let ideas flow…

Most of all the video has left me with another strong reminder to let thoughts flow, let them out into the world. That’s what this blog should always be about, a public notebook to share unfinished thoughts and things…

I’m grateful rateful to Alison Coward for the point…

#webshadows Moo postcards and mini-cards – a set on Flickr

I got some mini-cards from Moo made up with images of the book and the "making of" and with details of the Facebook group and website on the back. Thought they would make cool mini-flyers… Had some postcards made up as well while I was at it… Not sure what I will do with them.

Posted via web from Antony’s posterous

Reticulous ramblings! We can’t see the network for the nodes…


Reading my colleague Alisa Hansen‘s post about the head-spinning theories of the Synaptic Web and the Pragmatic Web, I was reminded again of this passage from Tim Berners-Lee’s Weaving the Web, which he wrote in 1999, less than a decade after the web came into being:

In an extreme view, the world can be seen as only connections, nothing else. We think of a dictionary as the repository of meaning, but it defines words only in terms of other words. I liked the idea that a piece of information is really defined only by what it’s related to, and how it’s related. (more…)

iPad first impressions

iCrossing UK colleagues falling for the iPad (via @shortlisted)

Like most of the world, it seemed, I was perfectly prepared to offer an opinion on the iPad without having ever seen one. Like most of the pre-launch “analysis” I’m not sure I added much of value to the discussion around it, other than to caution that we will have to wait and see what its real impact would be.

Apple’s newest product became a kind of proxy war for all sorts of other interests: DRM, death/survival of publishing, Mac v PC (yawn) etc etc. Cory Doctorow’s discussion of why we should not buy iPads was both typical of this slew of writing and stand out brilliant. It got me thinking, it made me hesitate for a moment about buying one…

Now? Reader, I bought one. And all the hypotheticals fell away, and it became about being a user – and that’s a whole different matter… (more…)

Bureaucracies defend themselves to death.

Media & incumbent business models: it's complicated...

Vested interests, protectionism, conservatism are the enemies of diversity, innovation and change.

This idea has been at the heart of liberalism since John Stuart Mill wrote On Liberty. He used the example of China, a civilisation so advanced and sophisticated that it invented paper, printing and gunpowder centuries before Europeans ever got near them.

Then China got bureaucracy. Got complexity combined with central control. And it stopped. Nothing changed, the elite decided how the world would be and how it would be forever. It’s a kind of societal Amish effect.

Clay Shirky’s written a fascinating essay about all of this called The Collapse of Complex Business Models. I especially love this quote:

Bureaucracies temporarily reverse the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a bureaucracy, it?s easier to make a process more complex than to make it simpler, and easier to create a new burden than kill an old one.

He uses examples of AT&T backing off from web hosting because of an obsession with up-time and reliability that didn’t fit the market. It’s what’s happening now with media companies that expect to be paid for their IP in the way they choose because the alternative does not compute for them.

It’s an interesting thought that the inability to see how things could get simpler might be what chokes an industry, a business. Does it jar with the Russell Ackoff call to ignore the “Keep It Simple Stupid” oversimplification that middle managers are so often englamoured by? I don’t think so – understanding complexity doesn’t mean you have to defend it.

Thanks @neilperkins for the point…