Walled Gardens or Walled Hearts?

I’ve never read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Tipping Point” but something inside me feels on the edge. Some kind of epidemic at that intersection of technology advance and human desire seems to be going down.

Facebook is all at once touted as saviour and villan. Dave Slusher points out what others are thinking. Cam’s talking about Telstra and being pinged by Techcrunch.

Mike’s trying (very well) to explain what it is we’re feeling as Stephen Downes echos similar sentiments and Laurel explains definitions and points us to where in Facebook the RSS is hidden.

It appears everywhere there’s a (natural) tendency to want to put things in neat boxes and try and grab some stability (sit down in the boat folks!)

JP is writing the Facebook Enterprise Epistles in parts 1, 2 and 3, with 4 soon to come (which will be my favourite as he is going to tie it into Four Pillars). Doc’s staying away (wise man is Doc, well, busy man too). There’s two very interesting juxtapositions right there from two people I admire immensely.

Certainly, to the Enterprises which see Facebook as a villan, it’s a villan that represents OPEN – even though to the people in the masses formerly know as the audience, Facebook and Web 2.0 still doesn’t seem to be as open as it ought. Showing open means different things to different folk in different spheres.

Of course, I think it’s all very interesting, even if I do feel a bit twitchy. The one thing it is, no matter where you sit or view it from, is OPEN. The discussions need to be had and aired. And we need to be patient and listen and not shoot ourselves in the foot, or anyone else in the midst of it.

Facebook or no Facebook, my friend Roy still seems to me one of the most open people I know.

Change is all around. Even this morning in Second Life, my favourite Elf had turned into a Nun. Seemed stangely odd hugging a Nun with the name Silkcharm.

However in the midst of it all, I’ve had one main thought for the last few days – Where’s my friend Kent?

I guess that thought echoes on what community really means.

Don’t worry about the technology people – the walls on that will come down with the walls around our hearts.



Image ArtistsHeartMechanicsBrain by dkart.

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Extraordinary Everyday Lives Podcast #30 up.

Christopher Carfi works for Cerado in California, who run the Haystack social networking service and writes The Social Customer Manifesto blog.

In this show, Mike and I talk to Chris about what is a social customer, what is a haystack and lotsa other goodness like how can women with long fingernails use the iPhone’s touch screen!

Yet another show from my latest concept of speaking to people I read in my blogroll and trying to deepen the conversation and connection.

Grab the show here.


Openness – Going Beyond Transparency

Openness is one of my pet things that’s been on my heart heavy for a few years and I’ve written about before. I read two things this week that conspired me to write some more.

One was JP talking about his ‘self-editing’ actions when posting a list of songs he has been listening to and his feelings about revealing to us all he listens to Boney M!

On our “social media” culture and the implied transparency he writes:

When I scanned the list I was very tempted to take out the Boney M song, but I didn’t. It felt like cheating. It felt like the equivalent of quietly kicking your golf ball out of the rough when no one’s watching. You don’t do that. It felt all wrong even though nobody was watching. So anyway I didn’t do it. And it made me ponder about the cultural and social implications of the renaissance of transparency that we’re all experiencing.

(emphasis mine)

Beyond the traditional idea of transparency, as a means of holding some external entity like public officials accountable and fighting corruption, the way we are all becoming more interconnected in different ways means that we are being called upon as individuals to hold ourselves accountable.

The focus has been turned inwards. More inversion.

If you think about the concept of Doc Searl’s ‘giant zero‘, we’d be standing on the inside of it pointing inwards with no wall between us. Or at least that’s where we seem to need to be.

Transparency assumes something in the way, a wall, a fence that, if not completely blocking the view, is somehow nonetheless a barrier. Openness means the way is clear – not just ‘see through’, but ‘go through’.

But while we might be experiencing something of a renaissance that starts with transparency, and I suggest is moving beyond it, social change never comes easy and we will need to find ways to adapt. This thought was bought home to me by something on the Naked yak blog.

Social Networks In The Limelight
Wherever there is change there is conflict. Maybe we are seeing the consequences of becoming more open.

Openness has consequences…and conflict, even if it’s within ourselves where we experience it. Certainly there’s signs on the interweb of this wrestling in regards to privacy, business ideas and personal experiences.

But opportunity is also a consequence of openness – a because effect. Opportunity for all kinds of things – connection, business, trust, markets, meaning…life.

I think it’s worth the risk.


[tags]openness, transparency, doc searls, giantzero, jprangaswami, change, shift, inversion[/tags]

More on the latest silo wars

As a kind of update to my last post here, Doc, in his usual succinctness, hits the silo nail on the head.

Social Silo Liberation Front
…. I, like Dave, am snowed under by too many requests to join competing social silos.
Social groups to which I belong in the physical world do not compete. They do not carry advertising. They do not have business models. They are not gathered so somebody else can make money. Except maybe at work. Maybe.
For all their goodness, these “networks” are silly. They are also as temporary and annoying in their competitive isolation as Compuserve, Prodigy and AOL were, back in the day (or the decade). Those things were Net-unfriendly long before their surviving members became Net-native.

Just like in the real-world, people are in many places, we don’t all need to be in the same place to connect and communication flows two ways.


[via Kent]

[tags]doc searls, kent newsome, facebook, silo, social[/tags]

Individual the centre of gravity – the times still are a changin, Facebook

As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.
-Bob Dylan

Stowe Boyd puts it well. At last, I actually read something that points to where the real power of an open distributed web will be – with the individual as the centre of gravity and full-focus attention enabled – just like Linda Stone predicts.

The question remaining to be worked out is how business models will evolve to support such individual-centric knowledge flows and not keep relying on the silo model.

Watching Bob Dylan this morning on YouTube I thought of Facebook.

The times still are a changin.


[tags]linda stone, facebook, focus, signal, bob dylan, change, stowe boyd[/tags]


Got a track back to a post I wrote last year about openness on the Net. It was a link from a post on what appears a fairly new blog called naked yak.

Looking around, turns out it’s the blog of a team of people from Naked Ltd who is a start-up company working on a new open messaging service that will enable people to share thoughts, feelings, and experiences, through lightweight mixed-media posts.

Reading through the posts on the blog I’m struck by the vibe that seems to be driving the development – personal openness, human connection (and anyone whose watched ‘The Castle’ knows ‘the vibe’ is everything :)).

Their plain spoken manifesto is:

Being Naked means that:

I say what I mean
You mean what you say
I’m more in touch
I’m in touch more

If they can deliver on something that enables us as people to filter out the noise so we can find the signal that matters to us, more power to them. I can’t wait to see it.


The reason why we MUST NOT build walled gardens!

Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace

Couldn’t sleep last night and so read this essay by Danah Boyd

This sentence stood out to me:

“The division around MySpace and Facebook is just another way in which technology is mirroring societal values.” – Danah Boyd

There exists in society too much division already – based on things like age, gender, ability, income, race, looks.

We don’t need to be building things technologically that serve as platforms to strengthen divisions – or create new ones.

I’ve said it before – openness is more than an API.


{Photo from Flickr by mondoagogo}

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Roy Blumenthal on The Extraordinary Everyday Lives Show #029

The latest edition of the The Extraordinary Everyday Lives Show is up.

We speak with Roy Blumenthal. Artist, writer, producer, cartoonist, Corporate Facilitator, Coach, Creative Thinking Specialist, Performer, published poet and general self-described ‘common-or-garden creative type’. Roy is widely known for his art created on his Tablet PC and for hanging around in Coffee Shops. An exuberant, generous person, who loves technology and conversation, we speak with him as part of the exploration and deepening connection to people on Dave’s Blogroll.

Get it from The Podcast Network…
The Extraordinary Everyday Lives Show #029 (MP3 – 19.2MB – 55:40min)