Research blogging do’s and don’ts

I’ve been thinking a bit what to publish about my research on my weblog, and went to search for other examples of research blogs to give me some guidelines.

I stumbled upon this website by Jill Walker who has written a valuable paper on blog usage and research together with Torill Mortensen. A very good read for anyone who is in doubt on what to blog and what not to. The following quote presents an interesting view:

“Blogs exist right on this border between what’s private and what’s public, and often we see that they disappear deep into the private sphere and reveal far too much information about the writer. When a blog is good, it contains a tension between the two spheres…”

The paper by Walker and Mortensen can be downloaded from the website, or directly from here: Jill Walker and Torill Mortensen, Blogging Thoughts: Personal Publication as an Online Research Tool (February 2002, PDF).

If you’re going to run a research blog or already have one up and running, what will you be posting and also what not? On the one hand you want to discuss things with your readers, on the other hand maybe you don’t want to have them run off with your ideas? Where is that balance?

(also posted on

We’ve talked about Participatory Culture in class with Richard Rogers. To get some idea of what this is, here’s some recommended reading: (more…)

This two-hour lecture covered the cities of Vienna, Dublin, Barcelona and Basel (Switzerland).


Monika Mokre and Elisabeth Mayerhofer covered Vienna, Aphra Kerr covered Dublin, Barbara Strebel covered Basel, and Matteo Pasquinelli covered Barcelona.

The lecture started with Vienna, which was delivered at lightning speed. I didn’t know Austrians could speak English that fast. This made it hard for me to keep up since I’m not good at multi-tasking (and taking notes + listening attentively = multitasking). But I think I got the gist of it:


On the 16th of November in the year of the Fire Dog, a German bloke named Julian Raul Kücklich visited an ugly building in Amsterdam called the P.C. Hoofthuis. This man, designated as one of the few worthy game theorists by Geert Lovink, spoke introductory words to us regarding the studying of games.Computer Game Player!

Mr. Kücklich started off restating the validity of game research, emphasizing their economical impact and how increasingly common it has become to regard them as media forms and cultural objects. What followed was a brief journey through game practices, genres, theoretical clashes and future approaches to game studies, all from the eyes of Kücklich’s home school, literary studies.


Lessig Code 2Writing a book online and facilitating a discussion around it seems to be very popular these days. McKenzie Wark is working on GAM3R 7H30RY which will be published by Harvard University Press in April 2007, and it will contain contributions from readers of his site. Readers are discussing and participating in the writing process and the networked book is born. The Institute for the Future of the Book is concerned with issues around “the book’s reinvention in a networked environment.” (( IFB ))


Floris-Jan van Luyn en Edwin Verstegen, VPRO
A documentary about the contradictions and tensions of modernisation and globalisation in China. Young people leave the country side and wind up as low wage substitute World of Warcraft players for their more wealthy counterparts in Western countries who have either no time or no lust to earn rewards, ranks and levels themselves.
The documentary also shows a compelling image of the contradictions between the country side and the rapidly modernizing urban environmeent, between physical labor in agriculture and digital sweat shops, between generations, site bound traditions and global modernization.

I recently came across the site Blue Ball Machine. Because I think the artist (Eathbounder) in contrast to his own view did a wonderful job (he calls the image SomethingAwfull), I highly recommend checking it out. (more…)

Welcome to Pepijn & Twan’s Presentation on Maps and their Cultural Critique, created within the boundaries of Google Earth.

In this presentation for the Information Visualization course we experiment how presentations can be given with the use of Google Earth. For every author we discuss we move to the hometown of that author. But lots more options are possible to use Google Earth for presentation purposes and also to show (spatial) examples during a presentation. This is intended as a first try and the idea is open for expansion, we challenge you!

How to open it?

  • First download Google Earth
  • Download this file: Presentation Maps and Critique ZIP
  • Unzip it
  • Choose File > Open in Google Earth and click the downloaded file
  • The presentation should appear in the My Places Tab, navigate by clicking the various ‘slides’

Assignment Zero is a collaboratively authored journalism project set up in association with Wired magazine.
In what may be the truest of Web fashions, the project will begin by examining itself – or actually, crowdsurfing crowdsourcing, the process it hopes to benefit from:

Welcome. We’re covering a story: How the Web makes it possible for the crowd to be the source of good ideas. But instead of one journalist reporting, we’ve created a site where many people can work on the story, with editors as guides.

Despite the buzzwords (pro-am journalism = professional-amateur journalism), I think this looks promising. I’d sooner contribute to this than to Wikipedia, just because it seems like more fun.

See also the Wired article about the project

Update 20/3 – thanks to the experts for pointing out my ‘crowdsurfing’ faux pas. Actually the history of the web is nicely summed up by the shift from surfing to sourcing, but whatever :)

QueneauJust a short tip about Raymond Queneau’s Hundred Thousand Billion Poems. This website lets you create poems by just selecting buttons, it sure saves some time if you don’t want to cut up your book (which is one of the suggestions of the New Media Reader). Nice stuff if you want to check out the various options.

Online communities map
(click map to enlarge)

Lately I’ve been living mostly in the Flickr/Last FM area and on the Blogipelago but I am a vivid traveler. I have day passes to and Wikipedia and I always enjoy a good swim in the Sea of Culture and the Ocean of Subculture.

Original source: xkcd

Recommended related reading by danah boyd:
Which evil nation state are you? (similes for Microsoft, Yahoo and Google)

Personalized advertisments are not enough. Google boss Eric Schmidt says, “Google is not at all done with your information problems. There are many, many examples of where it would be nice if Google had more of an ability to understand time and choices.”

So maybe we can make some recommendations before Google makes them for us. What problems would you like the company to solve?

More from the article:

The more a search engine can learn about a user’s surfing habits, the better it can predict their intent.

With more web history data, Google could offer users a “hyper-personal” experience, with results based on potentially years’ worth of pattern analysis of a user’s search history.

Speaking about the long-term aspirations for Google, Eric Schmidt, the firm’s chief executive, said one day the search engine could potentially answer questions such as “What shall I do tomorrow?” and “Which college should I go to?”.

Surely Schmidt knows it is a little disingenuous when he says, “The important principle, and I want to say this over and over again, is that this is opt-in, user choice.” What kind of choice would that be? What doors will close when I opt out of a grand scheme like that?

Anyways.. I would like Google to remedy my compulsion to watch the chipmunk video over and over. (And related to this, I could use a little help on my term papers, too.)

Through Chris Perkins’ blog I found these great videos of Chomsky and Foucault. Recorded for Dutch television in 1971, it shows the two discussing their theories, being mainly the concepts of justice and power in these fragments.

On September the 28th and 29th Amsterdam will be transformed into a huge playground.

A wide variety of big urban games will take place in the city……You may choose to take virtual penalties with your cell phone, play Snake live in the Westerpark or guard a VIP against snipers using a water pistol….



Cross-posted at Politics of Many Minds

Uses of Blogs
From the perspective of Politics of Many Minds, and doing research into the ‘natively digital’ more general, the book Uses of Blogs provided me some interesting thoughts on investigating blogging and the blogosphere. This post is therefore not so much a review, but more a personal research reflection on Uses of Blogs.

It is noteworthy that most definitions of blogs focus in a good part on technological features of blogs and constrains imposed by these features. This may be the last available option if a generic description of blogs is required, without falling into poorly defined listings of possible uses of blogs. The wikipedia definition of blogs is a good example:

A blog (a portmanteau of web log) is a website where entries are written in chronological order and commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. ‘Blog’ can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject such as food, politics, or local news; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) or sexual topics (Adult blog), and are part of a wider network of social media.

Digital research methods rely on technological features, or ‘natively digital’ objects such as the link, the comment, and the tag. However, it is not a techno-deterministic view on the web, rather by collecting and analyzing these objects the purpose is to distill social and cultural trends from the natively digital. For my research project more specific, I want to know how politics of many minds can be distilled from investigating the natively digital.

(more…) is a blog on news and opinion about digital trends. All sorts of items come by, marketing, gadgets, wiki’s, social software etc. What I try to do in this post is give you a brief analysis of this blog.

The following post is a combination of a transcription of Manovich’s keynote and my own notes and commentary.

Introduction by Geert Lovink

Lev Manovich @ Video VortexOnline video is renegotiating its (problematic) relationship with cinema. It deals with cinematographic principles versus the principles of the online age. We cannot directly transfer the cinematographic principles into the online age as new media has its own specificities. YouTube is not just video on the web but YouTube is a natively digital object.

Ten years ago Lev Manovich proposed to consider the database as the (new) dominant media form. The database is the hegemonic media form online, as can be seen on YouTube, Flickr, MySpace and Google. We should think beyond technology now the database is also becoming a dominant social form. The database is shaping the social.


google 2084In a series of ‘future of’ events, the Club Of Amsterdam organized a future on Google symposium on the 25th of October at the Industrieele Groote Club. Four lecturers were invited to give their views on the history, status, and possible future scenarios of Google.
Also a discussion session was held, moderated by Simon Jones.

First up was Nils Rooijmans, who is Head of r&d ilse Media.
Within the Ilse company, which is still the largest dutch search engine, Rooijmans is working on the development and strategy of search engines. He states that Google is not only a search engine (technology), but also an advertisement company (business) and a media company (culture). Concerning the latter, the impact of Google on culture and the media landscape is the point of discussion.
In current discussions on this blog, one mayor issue is the authenticity of truth ascribed to Google, (Google as truth (f)actor)) by literary everyone (wikipedia-google discussion, for instance). Rooijmans explains that this discussion is rather irrelevant due to the fact, whether you like it or not, it is simply happening. He takes another point of view by taking a look at the definition of culture:
Culture’ (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning “to cultivate,”) generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activity significant importance.
In other words, culture is about how knowledge is transferred in a society. By taking (a rather narrow) view on the history of this transferring, from sign to words to the printing press, it is stated that, where the printing press was about archiving of knowledge, the new search engine paradigm transforms the way in which we transfer knowledge. Search engines actually transfer knowledge itself. A critical question here (which was not addressed) is what searching than now means. Is searching for knowledge also creating (new) knowledge?
To continue on history, television and radio enabled ‘popular’ culture. Now, we can see a shift from mass media broadcasting towards interactive media like blogs. Where mass media was one way communication of knowledge, via new media tools, a discourse is emerging; a blog is interactive due to the fact that the system of commenting is adding to the ‘knowledge’ factor of the blog. The way to tap into this knowledge is via searching. The development of this search culture has lead to the filtering of knowledge to the top 10 of Google ranking (where we now know that after a 1000 results, the search becomes useless).
So, the power of knowledge lies now not only in its availability, but also in its accessibility (or, Google presence, in this case).
In giving a future scenario, Rooijmans shows the image of Google: 2084. Your brain and your ego will also become Googable.

The second speaker is Mario de Vries, a business consultant for Triple P.
In a time where Google is checking your every mail-movement, de Vries takes on a marketing view on what is happening with your data. Rather than creating new information, the focus is on the remixability/ re-use of information. The fact that your data is highly valuable and easy accessible is of course already known in the marketing world. The hot topic now is cross-media management. The example of the Eboman site as a free site, and a portal to information (see remarks on this in “is eboman 2.0 post“) shows that in a web 2.0 paradigm, everybody becomes his/her own advertisement company or brand, if you will.
A way to tap into this emerging possibilities is think of new models and views of a brand.
Synethesia (what actually comes down to experience design and ambient experience) is the phrase. Where even buttons become company brands and vice versa the iPhone is mentioned: its interface shows, for example, that a ‘ button’ is already virtual and becomes a portal a whole underlying co-brand.
Where a company is becoming its own advertiser it has to build a close community around its products and services where the value of information is only visible in context and ‘narrow casting‘.
By expanding their business from internet to television (a search engine for the multitude of content within digital television) Google will be even more present in creating and providing a platform for content. With a probable model of building profiles, paying via your Google setup box, the emphasis and business model here is ‘mass customization’, where I can access any tv content whenever I want (as long as I pay the subscription of course) and, also wherever I want:
De Vries expects a total immersion of the real and the virtual world via screens, where the content of this screens will become user-and location-dependent and the object name server will replace the domain name server.
As an example he mentions the add by Burger King with its Whoperettes. By crating your own set of ingredients online, the whole add movie is adjusted to you ‘taste’.
By connecting different platforms like television and internet via more and more ubiquitous displays, Google can guarantee a number of viewers in add-space, getting an even more firm grip on mediaspace.

In a whole different direction, Rocco van den Berg from Endemol, starts from a content-developers position.
With Endemol focusing on the increase of serious video channels, they have to think about models where there is room for user generated content. IPTV, via setup box or via broadband will be a billion dollar business by 2010. The big players now are myspace, youtube, joost and msn; all native web-developed platforms. The question for Endemol is how to get in as a production company. They are betting on interactive television and direct sales, in a combination of user generated content and subscriptions.
In creating and remixing content, Endemol is also working on re-using ‘old’ television content, by using the web 2.0 metaphor of tagging in order to find new ways of exploiting (did not like this connotation!) content.
In a joint venture called Xie, a new format is being developed to create something van den Berg called a ‘device independent service’. What he actually meant (small correction here) is of course a cross-platforms service, where internet, television and mobile phones are used to create a me-on-tv (quite narcissistic) kind of program.
Think Citizen Journalism versus Idols. If you’re wandering where the link with Google is, wander with me…
Critical question from the crowd was why users would want to pay for this service in consideration with a YouTube, MySpace etc.

For the final lecture, Arjen Kamphuis was introduced.
With the title of his presentation being “futureshock – don’t panic”, one cannot help but expect a techno-utopian story.
By starting of with a very quick technology history, from the first fist axe to traveling to the moon, Kamphuis states that instead of graduate change, we are right now undergoing an accelerated change in technological development. Where futurologists often tend to draw a straight upward graph, it is probably parabolic. Instead of creating “in the year 2020” scenarios, we should recognize that literally, future is happening now. With Google being the largest enterprise in world history, we should focus more on the dynamics now rather than postponing it to the future.
Where the printing press has left its mark on the speeding-up process of recreating and archiving knowledge, with the coming of Internet we are now really in the information age. The reason why we are still in offices and cubicles rather than working on the beach with our laptops, as sketched as the ideal office by Kamphuis, is a matter of a generation gap. Adjusting to computerized society is not fully saturated yet in all layers of this society. With computational power becoming ever more powerful, cheap and ubiquitous (warned you about the techno-utopian view…), next generation of man will look at computational power evrywere as a natural given.
He even goes as far as to say that nowadays already computers have the same computational power as a human brain, mentioning the chess-computer development and the Asimo-robot. He accidentally forgets to mention on what area/level. A personal comment here is that this ‘computational’ power is highly misunderstood by a large number of tech-utopian thinkers like Kamphuis. Even with this ‘computational power equivalent of a human brain’ we still are not quite there yet (link to article). Where computational power is here compared with knowledge, there is a significant difference; that of interpretation and adaptiveness of the surrounding world (the “outside”), this world being both functional and emotional. Without going into too much detail, the critique is that knowledge is not purely centralized and hierarchically computed, but moreover decentralized an embodied.
After this, a small link was made towards the prediction that man can actually fall in love with robots (article Levy in dutch).
I quite missed the link to Google here…

In the question what will will be the next step in all this web 2.0 hassle, peer to peer communication is marked as the future of sharing, but also of advertisements. Where the model used to be only payment per click, the next step is payment per sign-up, eventually ending up in cost-per-influence. So an abstraction of what something is worth digitally will take place; you are not going to pay for your connection or downloads, but for the amount of fun or entertainment value. Relevance is becoming more important than reach, where ‘we don’t want to choose, we want it all’.
Summarizing, (the rest of the discussion was not really going anywhere), the next Google will provide value other than advertising.

Google 2012
In a final question, all the panel members were asked to give their prognoses on what Google would look like in 2012;
One prediction is that of a Second Earth, a combination between Second Life & Google Earth. It was mentioned that this is actually already being developed. In a recent post by Pieter, more can be read on alternatives of Second Life.
Also, providing service especially for video within browsing and mobile phone technology is a direction Google is expected to take.
From a business perspective, getting in charge of minimal payments will close the last ‘gap’ in the development of Google as an advertisement and (cross)media agency.
With integrated web-service and the development of object name services, Google will definitely take up its share. If it still exists, that is.
On the prediction/ scenario that Google will go bankrupt, say, within a day (which is quite a possible scenario these days), the panel was very ambivalent. Kamphuis, for instance, said, taking a very relativistic stand, that this will be of no consequence at all. We will have many Googles in the future (with other two smart guys having an even better idea that Google). It would but give an global glitch that will be restored within the same day. The other panel members were more realistic, in pointing out the vast amounts of businesses and groups of people that are dependent on Google, both on the digital and physical infrastructure.

On November 2nd Google presented her “new baby”: OpenSocial. OpenSocial is a open source technology based on html and javascript, which allows networks to be open for gadgets and widgets from other sites. A good example of this, as I call it, “cooperation” is Plaxo or now so called Plaxo Pulse.

So why must Google be in between? Why didn’t all these different networks start connecting with each other and come up with a standard? In order to maybe get some answers on these questions I took a look at “Campfire One” the presentation of OpenSocial, explained by all the cooperating groups.

OpenSocial is mostly for making the lives of developers easier. Nowadays it’s pretty difficult to make a widget which is compatible with different kinds of social networks because each one of them is using different programming languages and standards.


“OpenSocial: a common open set of APIs for building social applications across multiple sites” API: application programming interface, “is a source code interface that an operating system or library provides to support requests for services to be made of it by computer programs” (1) (wiki)

“It’s all about making the Web more social, not just Google”

Right….so what will be different than…?

Example of the cooperation of Ning and Flixter

Ning is a social network whereby you can create your own social network.
Flixter is a movie community for movie fans where you can do all sorts of activities which involve movies, like rating, reviews, movie pics, movie news etc.

So what will happen when those two will cooperate with each other using the OpenSocial API’s?

CEO of Flixter:

“We’ve integrated the flixter application in the middle of the profile (profile page of someone on Ning). The profile page is getting it’s information from the servers of Ning and the Flixter applicaton gets it’s information live from Flixter servers. What Flixter is doing is using the OpenSocial API to get the users identity, pull information from our database about that users movie preferences[…]And what the users can do now is click into the application. We’re still within Ning but all the information you see is coming from the servers of Flixter. So what it’s doing is, again, get the users information, through OpenSocial from Ning, profile picture, name etc and also getting there entire friendslist immediately going to our database and looking at the most recently movie reviews for that friendslist and showing that as an activity stream at the right side of the page. And then if you click into a movie, what Flixter does is basically now turn any social community on the web into a movie site.[…] and immediately see your own friends and what they said about that movie and maybe discover somebody who wants to see the movie, so you can immediately share information.”

Well, that’s quite interesting information I say. So what’s basically happening with the use of OpenSocial is that your several accounts, in other words, databases, on different network sites will be combined and most importantly those of your friends as well.

(I took just one example, there are more examples given in the video of the presentation.)

So what’s in it for Google?

I see networks combining their databases and therefore also combine all your accounts and at the same time I see Google which is tracking your search inputs, uses Google AddWords etc.

Combining all this information tells me that Google is getting more and more information in an easier way cause everything is slowly getting centralized. Sure there are benefits for businesses and consumers but what’s happening now is that Google has got access to places, social networks, of which is known that users of those sites lose their guard about, for example, their privacy. I say it’s all in the name, “Open” “Social”.

But let’s not be to sceptical and see what it will bring us in the next upcoming months.

It is no longer a matter of signing up for a social networking account, but rather choosing one from the existing social networking sites. Major social networking sites such as Facebook or Myspace have secured their position in the market. But according to the online competitive intelligence service, Hitwise, two ethnic social networking sites, (ranked 4) and (ranked 19) made up the list of top 20 Social Networking sites from January to February 2007. Ethnicity forms a solid basis on which niche online communities may thrive. For this matter I want to look at three ethnic social networks,, and with the following questions in mind:

– How do ethnic social networking sites contribute to an imagined community?
– What is the value-added of these ethnic social networking sites?

The emergence of niche social networking sites may arise from our need to build a community with people we do not personally know, but who we feel affiliated with, or as Benedict Anderson articulates:

it (the nation) is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion… In fact, all communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined (Anderson 1991).

Ethnic social networking sites

asianaveblackplanetmigente, and are owned by Community Connect Inc. (CCI), one of the leading niche social networking companies. CCI also owns a niche social networking sites for gays and lesbians, named sites are standardized in structure, interface, functionality, and text. The main page of each CCI site provides a short introduction and description of the community. For instance, is: is your place to meet and connect with Asians around the country. Chat or post photos and videos to share your experience. Look for other Asian Americans who are sharing theirs—even if you’re searching for news about what’s hot in Asian music, fashion, sports and events or looking for the buzz in business, politics and trends, we are the home for what is relevant to you and your community. This is the largest online community for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indians, and others—the entire Asian and Asian American family—to network, share a social lifestyle, find romance, entertainment, and even jobs.

CCI primarily emphasizes two domains which are significant to the member when engaging in the social networking site: personal relationships (love life) and business networks. This is affirmed when looking at the main functionalities of the site which are dating, professionals, and jobs. It is not entirely surprising that CCI focuses so much on profession and jobs; CCI has partnered with since 2004. Under the motto “ethnic community” CCI sites have found a way to connect advertisers to their members. Dating services and job listings have become the main revenue sources of these sites. So the value-added of these sites, or rather a strategy is to group people together to attract major advertisers, which is indeed a very clever and twofold way to service both members and advertisers simultaneously.

CCI sites are imagined communities based on the notion of ethnic identity as a shared experience. My own assumption is that these communities promote an identity based on sameness and the feeling of belonging. So if you’re Asian(or African-American, or Hispanic), you will eventually connect to other millions of Asians, because having the same ethnicity means having something in common with people you do not actually know personally. CCI sites promote this idea of shared ethnic identity, and encourage members to engage in the community to extend their social and business networks. But do you actually need to go to ethnic social networking sites for these ends? Just like any other social networking sites, CCI sites provide the same functionalities, such as video upload, groups, music etc and when compared to general social networking sites, I wonder if CCI sites provide a surplus to building online ethnic communities. (I will return to this point later on.)

Let’s now have a look at how Facebook deals with ethnic groups. Type in for instance Asian as a query and you will find countless of “Asian” groups (so many that I have lost count of). On the global level, the largest groups have more than 10.000 members. Take for instance, the group “First Biggest Asian Group Ever” (total of 14.446 members) provides an extensive and detailed account of the group, members and goals:

If you are born in any Asian countries, or in the US with parents or grandparents of Asian descent? Or maybe you simply have a deep appreciation for Asian culture, language or history? Then you’re welcome to the First Biggest Asian Group on Facebook!

A summary of the First Biggest Asian Group’s goals:

– To unite all Asians/non-Asians alike who share a common interest and appreciation in Asian cultures
– To promote greater interest in and understanding of Asian culture, history, language, politics, economics and religion;
– To strive to eliminate the racism, hatred, prejudice, fetishism, stereotyping and cultural misunderstanding
– To maintain our status as the largest Asian group on Facebook, to serve as a hub for other Asian- and Asian American-related Facebook groups.
– But most importantly, our biggest goal is to create a friendly and relaxing environment where Asian Americans from all across the country can come together to discuss our shared experiences, difficulties, and successes.
We are here to promote Asian pride!

Another Facebook group, Asian or I wish to I were discusses the stereotypical assumptions about Asians:

This group is for people who are Asian (or close enough) and proud of their heritage and ethnicity. We eat rice (though don’t HAVE to like it), some of us play DDR, most of us play piano AND/or some other musical instrument, and a lot of us work bloody hard (or are forced to by our parents).

Acing the SAT with a 1600 or 2400 was absolute child’s play, mainly because we were forced to study for them since we were a child of 5.

In terms of membership and ethnic group formation, general social networking sites have also successfully captured the attention of CCI’s target group. Moreover, general social networking sites are advantaged, since the number of membership is much higher than niche social networking sites. (Asianavenue’s hottest groups comprise of 400-900 members versus 17.000 members in a Facebook group). Facebook groups open up spaces to discuss one’s ethnicity, culture, and experience, while the main focus remains on ethnicity.

The surplus of CCI is the combination of the cultural and social, with business. If you feel like talking to people of the same ethnicity, Facebook’s ethnic groups will do. But if you want to connect with them for business or relationship purposes, CCI sites are specialized in helping members through this process. But what seems to be a surplus can play out to their disadvantage. It is very clever to build a platform where members can sign up for different purposes. But would you have someone in your network for business purposes under the nickname HotLatino178? Or would you share your vacation pictures with a potential business partner? Lastly, the focus of CCI sites as I have encountered has shifted from community building to networking. It is a perfect place to narrow down your target group, but I think they lack more creative ways to engage members in building an ethnic community as they have promoted. After all, each site looks and feels the same, so ethnic community is only reflected in the name (of the site) and less in the experience.

A few moths back @ PICNIC hackerscamp Timo Arnall told me he was working on super secret technology he couldn’t tell specifics about. A few weeks back @ recalling RFID he still was very mysterious about his super secret technology and I got really curious. I told him I set a Google Alert for “Timo super secret technology’ so that I would find out as soon as he made his technology public. This initiated a conversation 2.0 style publicly on the Web via tags, notes and alerts.

Web 2.0 applications encourage that more and more semi-private conversations take place publicly on the Web. Instead of sending someone an email, comments on blogs and Flickr photo’s, messages in’s shoutbox are the way to let friends know you are following what they are doing. These conversations don’t seem to be limited to one specific application, but often take place across multiple platforms. One such conversation 2.0 is taken as an example in this post to address how conversations are shaped by the the technical specificity of the applications where these conversations take place.

Google alert supersecret technology

Google Alert time lapse
On November 5, finally, the alert went of! When I opened my mail I was really exited to find “Google Alert – timo super secret technology” among all my other mail. When I clicked the link I was directed to a Flickr supersecret technology picture of a Nokia phone and an RFID tag. On mouse over, it showed the picture was covered with notes from Timo and his colleagues Einar and Jorn. One of the notes read “timo supersecret technology… invisible?.” The picture was also tagged with the magic phrase “timo super secret technology” making it possible for Google to index and send me an alert. The first thing that struck me about this conversation 2.0 is that the title of the picture reads “25 October, 15.08” while my Google Alert went off on Nov 5, 2007 12:08 PM. The time Google needs to index pages created a time lapse of ten days in the conversation. Google optimistically signs its alert mail with “This as-it-happens Google Alert is brought to you by Google.” “As-it-happens” is however defined according to Web 1.0 standards.

Google alert supersecret technology 2

Note conversation
This time lapse is one thing that drastically shapes the conversation. The moment I first saw the Flickr image, the conversation Timo, Einar and Jorn had on Flickr was old news. Furthermore, I couldn’t tell time wise which note was attached before the other. Not only the time lapse created by Google, but also the lack of timestamps in the notes make that conversations take a certain form.

Supersecret technology note conversation

Conversations are chaotic and more organized spatially than linear in time. The notes I placed myself are placed in a certain order. For instance, “so supersecret.. where is it?” is followed by “here?.” Time-wise it is not possible to distill this order. Also spatially it is not always possible to discover the order. The convention of reading from left to right for instance isn’t applicable to reading a note conversation since the location of the notes is highly dependent on previous notes and what is represented in the image. The only linear order that can be distilled is when notes react to specific other notes and form a trail. As an example, “timo supersecret technology…. invisible?” is followed by the attached note “Shhh…”, which is followed by the attached note “so supersecret.. where is it?.” By discovering the first in the trail the order of notes can be distilled by their spatial organization.

Web 2.0 conversations are chaotic conversations but that is also part of their charm. These conversations take place across multiple platforms in different Web times and with multiple participants, opening up new ways for shaping conversations.

This link is very interesting; an (almost) real time geo-locater of anonymous Wikipedia entries.
During a workshop on Recalling RFID, I got interested in where the actual story (in this case wikipedia entries) was being made on RFID. In a first attempt, a map was created that shows the sizes of countries in relation to its contribution to the RFID story.
I recently received the above link form a fellow blogger and decided to explore a little with it.

Below you can find eight minutes of recorded truth-editing compressed in two minutes. In this dance of red dots, what do we see? And what is the world editing about within these eight minutes of reality? A nice add-on would be if one could track changes per edit-topic. This could create a kind of ‘truth-status-bar’ of topics of your interest. Next step will be to record an hour and create one static image with all layers of edits. This in order to see where the weight of edits will lie (and maybe on what topics/issues).
Here you can find the movie.
In this movie we can actually see the different entries over time, chronologically. What also seemed interesting was to create again, a static map, that shows the (share of) contribution per country during a specific period of time.

Via Processing, I plotted the map of two minutes editing:
With many thanks to Erik, it worked out.
Below you can find the source code (which actually will not work, because first you will have to create a movie from the site and then separate them into single images and load them into your sketch folder within Processing…). You can actually use the movie above to subtract images from.
Here is the animation of two minutes Wikipedia.
Source code: source code

Here is a cross-post.

Skype is no longer spam free. This afternoon I was asked to add a new person to my Skype. The message it sends is the following:

Dear Sir/Madam:
first of all, thank you very much for your attention!
We are one of the leading international-trade wholesalers in China, mainly dealing with digital cameras,PSP,LCD TV,Laptops
Notebooks,Digital Video,Mp4,GPS,and so on.
we are the sole franchise manufacturer as well as agent in China for giant international companies such as IBM, samsung,
sony, NOKIA and so on . Therefore, all the goods have the lowest price and best quality.
in order to establish long-term business relations, we are ready to offer you the most reasonable price sharing more profit
with you. we are sure that you will obtain more after browsing our website,Please connect to us whenever you have any
question,we will give you satisfying answers.
Our Web address: …
Our MSN: …
Our mail: ….

Is this the beginning of a new era of spam?

Traditionally governments are lagging behind when it comes to picking up on new media technologies. The recent discussions on banning violent video games (i.e. Manhunt 2) are just one of the many examples of the media illiteracy of our beloved members of parliament. That’s why a contest by the (Dutch) Ministry of Internal Affairs on the challenges of governance in a virtual world deserves some attention here.