Trust, Web 2.0 & Relationships

Trust. In the context of Web 2.0, our readings and podcast lectures have been very revealing. Web 2.0 products enable people to become part of vibrant communities that do everything from create and build new software, publish podcasts and books, create entertainment, share knowledge, get a weight loss buddy, to helping people solve global problems. Some people (you know who you are!) have even suggested using mashups to create and vote on public art projects or develop re-purposing plans for buildings. While many of these contributors may never meet face to face, they are part of a shared ownership and shared responsibility to make things work. To make the world a better place.

The part that resonated personally was the statement made during one of our lectures that trust in a Web 2.0 networked environment was about, “trusting the communication process.” How true.

As a young person I did not trust, …anyone. As I began to mature (and I don’t have a fat head about that; I have a looong way to go), I realized that if I was to have any sort of meaningful relationships, it was going to be necessary for me to become vulnerable. I was going to need to be open and to share in order for the other person to feel comfortable and to enable them to trust me. I would need to take a risk.

Wikipedia would not exist if it were not taking a risk, becoming vulnerable and trusting first. That is why it works, in my opinion. Other people then want to become worthy of that trust and become trustable. (Some sociologist out there probably has a term for it)

It will be very interesting to see how far we can take these ideas. We live in exciting times.

Bradley Shende & Mashups

This morning, I happened to be watching the morning news and the Connected Life feature was about mashups. Fit right in with what we are looking at in class and if you check out the video, you might find some other cool stuff to do.

[http://canwest.a.mms.mavenapps.net/mms/rt/1/site/canwest-globalbc-pub01-live/current/launch.html?maven_playerId=morningnewsconnectedlife&maven_referralObject=3118474]

Ideas & Change

Its interesting how one idea can create such profound change. Tapscott and Williams, in Wikinomics, discuss N-Geners as prosumers. File sharing accounts for half the internet traffic they say (I’ll bet most of that is porn, but that is another issue), and this is “signalling that the Net Generation is renegotiating the definitions of copyright and intellectual property.” (52)

N-Gener? I think I gave birth to a couple of those. While I educated them about how stealing is bad, and hitting is bad, and how to respect women (they’re men), and how to be strong and kind all at the same time, they still had no difficulty downloading stuff from the Internet. Games, codes, movies, music, hacking, it is all fair as far as they are concerned. Stealing from the store is never considered, but copying bytes, no problem. As Cory Doctorow points out, “computers copy, that’s what they do.”

Change is not only inevitable, but I for one welcome it. (I wouldn’t go so far as to say that one period in history is better than any other, because I think each has it’s own set of challenges, ideologies, pros and cons. Just like the one, we are in now.) I like the whole idea of renegotiating meaning. I am sure that some disagree, but I like that the meaning behind the concept of wife, has changed a bit over the last century. Stagnant water just gets, well, stagnant and undrinkable.

It is painful though, and it has never been without pain. Just one example from the multitudes is the pain that came for the early 19th century handloom weavers. Weavers were unable to support their families as textile manufacturing moved to factories, driving down their profits. I’ll bet that even today most of us cannot afford to pay for hand woven blankets, and the deal at the department store fits into our budget better.

And how about living without all those cheap factory made goods?

Wiki Wiki or Get Left Behind

Wikinomics, and the few pages required reading for SOCS300 was thought provoking. Already the margins marked with scribblings, question and exclamation marks.

Tapscott and Williams in their 2006 book, Wikinomics, show us the differences between the old model of economics and the newer models of mass collaboration. Top down management and hierarchies versus community, peering and sharing. A “Do what I say or I’ll smack you” and a “How do you think we can solve this problem?” contradiction. Tapscott and Williams point out that the market place is changing and the change is BIG. While they don’t use the Hadron Collider as an example in their book, the project does provide another picture of mass collaboration. The Hadron Collider project’s shear scope is impossible without the ideas, money and collaboration between multiple countries, scientists, and universities. Get on board, utilize the tools or eat your fear for breakfast.

What fascinates me is the human factor. The theory behind Wikinomics is based on mass collaboration. Not of the type that goes hand in hand with communism where individuality is suppressed, but the kind that wants, respects and values your particular ideas, in order to make the end concept or commodity better. It sounds Utopian. Equality based on your unique experiences and knowledge, not your gender, pigment, country of origin, or level of education.

Meeting together with people from other parts of the globe and sharing ideas will mean that ideas about politics and culture are shared too. Good ideas as well as bad ones can flow in both directions and it’s not like the west has all the good ideas. Or the bad ones.

Importantly we must be careful that we do not remain “westcentric” in our thinking. Case in point, Massively Collaborative Direct Democracy has a web site advocating the exploration of a massively collaborative direct democracy. The problem is that the site is in English only, implying a minimum level of literacy in English. It is on a web site requiring a computer and internet connection. It is “opt-in.” While it may not occur to us in the West, in most parts of the developing world education is still a premium and don’t even talk about the education of girls. I mean have at it, but remember it will not be inclusive, but exclusive.

My Pipe & No I Don’t Smoke

I have been trying to set up Yahoo Pipes to filter blogs for a class (in school).

Frustrating. It takes me back to the day when I was learning to write Java. Write some Java. Hope that each punctuation mark was in place because at 3am after having looked at it for the billionth time you wouldn’t have a chance of finding a mistake anyway. Compile. Frack! It doesn’t work. Drink yet more coffee. Read it backwards. Find an error. Compile…

At any rate, I have been digging around on the Internet looking for a solution. Using the same solution for filtering as my instructor does not work. It returns every article on my blog when only one should be listed. Other Pipes offered hope, but used parameters from the drop down menus on the modules like “item.gd:etag.” Yahoo Pipes should offer a list of each of these parameters and what their function is. “Item.” Is that each blog entry? Is it the entire blog? “gd.” What? “etag.” I’m guessing it calls the tags one adds to their blog entries.

I have ended up using the solution that was used by another student. Each blog is filtered four times. Once each for “description,” “title,” “category,” and “gd:etag.” It works, but…

My Yahoo Pipe.

Crank out the Statement!

I have to write an artist’s statement. This is harder to do than saying, I do. I have turned to the handy Market-o-Matic [1.0] (Fine Arts Version) to automatically Crank out the Crap as they say.

This is the result:

Work of Post-Art in the Age of Generative Reproduction

The mind creates, the body reproduces. In the material reality, art objects are deprecations of the creations of the mind — a mind that uses the body as an organism to represent ideas, patterns, and emotions. With the evolution of the electronic environment, the mind is conceiving a point where it will be free from the body to realize immersions into the ejaculations of the delphic reality. Work of Post-Art in the Age of Generative Reproduction contains 10 minimal flash engines (also refered to as “shopbots”) that enable the user to make feminist audio/visual compositions.

measuring chains, constructing realities
putting into place forms
a matrix of illusion and disillusion
a strange attracting force
so that a seduced reality will be able to spontaneously feed on it

Joyce Joyce’s work investigates the nuances of surveilance cameras through the use of slow motion and close-ups which emphasize the Generative nature of digital media. Joyce explores abstract and pink scenery as motifs to describe the idea of infinite reality. Using ugly loops, non-linear narratives, and allegorical images as patterns, Joyce creates meditative environments which suggest the expansion of culture…
/u[0]{)]|]]-] ————-/u/u!@#$%^~!@#$%^&*()) __++_)(*&^%$——–/u/u!@#$%^~!@#$ %^&*())__++_)(*&^%$——–/u/u!@#$ %^~!@#$%^&*())__+, etc., etc.,

So, what do you think? Will I get an A?

Trouble with Sources & Saying What I Want

Reading assignment number one, for SOCS300, is a few pages from Mark Frauenfelder’s book Rule the Web. Frauenfelder points out that Technorati.com, a blog database, lists over 57 million blogs (13)! While I found that Technorati returned results formatted with too much information for a quick assessment, I did find the Top 100 blogs tab to be very useful. It seems amazing that blogging as a tool for communication did not even begin until 1996 (15), the very same year I purchased my first computer, a Mac Power PC running Mac OS 7.5.3 (it crashed…a lot). Frauenfelder’s excitement rubs off as he explains that anyone with a computer and a “$20 Internet connection” can publish virtually anything to an “audience of a billion people” (22). Truly amazing.

What initially began as light-hearted informative reading became worrying. Frauenfelder relates the story of Zouhair Yahyaoui who was arrested, tortured and died in prison because of a post on a blog (26). I decided to investigate and what I found was troubling and interesting on two levels.

In the first case, I was concerned that this could be happening frequently. Worse yet, it may also be under-reported. Researching at Human Rights Watch I found a few more troubling stories. Such as that of Abd al-Raziq al-Mansuri. Mansuri had been detained and then convicted on October 19, 2005 for illegally possessing a handgun. Apparently, over the previous year he had written approximately 50 articles as a journalist for a UK based web site, which were unflattering to the Libyan government. (I can’t confirm as it is written in Arabic.) Mansuri’s story is just one among others at HRW, such as the plights of Huang Qi, Liu Di, Dr. Nguyen Dan Que, Le Chi Quang, Nguyen Khac Toan, and Pham Hong Son.

Also troubling, was the story I initially read about Zouhair Yahyaoui in Rule the Web. Frauenfelder, without citing a source, wrote that Yahyaoui was arrested in 2004 and died in prison in 2005 (26). Reporters Without Borders claims that Yahyaoui was jailed on June 4, 2002 and released from prison on November 18, 2003. HRW confirms Yahyaoui’s release from prison in 2003 and also reports that Yahyaoui died of a heart attack on March 13, 2005 at age 36.

It seems that the free flow of information can cause difficulties on, at the very least, two fronts. It can be a problem for those using “mashed” up information, which has been drawn from multiple resources, as a final reliable source. This leaves me with more questions. For example, what sources can I truly trust? Printed or Digital? Or does it matter?

More importantly, speaking freely can result in fines, arrest, torture and imprisonment for those very individuals who are fighting to keep that right. Will I always have that right? How important is it for me to consider the rights of my society as a whole? How hard will I have to fight to keep it?

Frauenfelder 13-36

I have a recommended reading for the class, which states, “Frauenfelder 13-36.” What? I already ordered my books! Frauenfelder wasn’t on the list. Putting my resources to work, naturally I google 13-36. What is truly funny about that, is the sponsored link that appears on the right (see below).

[image missing]

Next, I google “Frauenfelder”. Wikipedia has an entry.

Anyway, he is the co-editor of the collaborative weblog Boing Boing, which was also on our list. Boing boing seems at first glance like a typical (I don’t mean boring) blog. Snippets of information gathered from here and there and posted to one location. It is collaborative, which means that more than one author is able to post. This would certainly contribute to more balance, especially if each person had different politics, culture etc.

I especially enjoyed the entry on girls becoming infertile if they play the digeridoo. Sounds ridiculous to me, but I’ll bet it doesn’t to girls who are entrenched in that culture. Are you daring me to touch thaaat?

Guess I’ll have to post in the forum to find out where to find pages 13-36.

Web 2.0

I am excited about the class. It should be interesting.

I am already spending hours looking over all the options for blogs…oh, oh I’m hooked. I may need to file for a divorce from that other networking thing that starts with an ‘f.’