antisocial bookmarking

Digg this:
dumb.icio.us
Yeah, maybe you shouldn’t be so sensitive, Yahoo. After all, you want me to share my bookmarks, dontcha? Doesn’t that improve the value of the network? If so, why are all 700 or so bookmarks that I’ve imported defaulting to “not shared”, prompting me to click “share this” repetitively, in the absence of a mass edit function in your app?

I’m equally miffed now that in addition to this I have to remove the tag “imported” from all of these…grrr…of course, since my IP is now blocked, this won’t be happening any time soon.

Give Me Last.fm And I Will Raise The World

I’m slogging through a deferred paper for a seminar last semester – ungh. But here’s a post to kill two birds with one stone – (1a) force my ideas into something concrete via publishing (and all its accompanying dangers) while (1b) breaking my 2007 blogging procrastination cherry. No way I was gonna let that blasted iPhone do it!

It’s a complicated, distracting entanglement of a research area I’ve chosen. Anyway, wild thought swings have finally led me to rest on the collision of a contemporary social construction of networked music (Théberge 2004) with Latour’s (1983) idea of the laboratory extended out into the world.

It’s an exciting project. Latour argues that in the process of extending the laboratory into the world, distinctions between micro and macro, inside and outside, and laboratory and world are blurred. This bears an uncanny resemblance to my idea of a networked and converged “music studio”, in which a broader network is implicated, including remixing, social networking, physical sites of music activity, and other agents of change.

That, and Apple might be breaking open the black box of their AAC format, seemingly smoothing over the jagged edges of the DRM wars to their own advantage, of course…

Socialight and The Future

There’ll be the breaking of the ancient western code
Your private life will suddenly explode
There’ll be phantoms
There’ll be fires on the road

– Leonard Cohen, “The Future”

There’s this service that’s been around for a while now called Socialight. If you haven’t already heard about it, here’s the scoop: it lets you tag locations with information which others can use when they visit the place you’ve tagged. Using mobile phones, of course.

I’ve been involved in a number of wireless projects over the past few years, and this urge to tag our physical world with data is something I’ve come upon previously. As one commenter on TechCrunch put it late last year, “tagging physical locations is a natural mashup of del.icio.us and the real world”. We seem to want the spaces we occupy to be meaningful to us, and we also seem to want to leave our own individual marks on them as well.

But what might be the consequences of this sort of activity, if we imagine it accelerated to the point where Wikipedia is right now? Imagine the kinds of tagging we might see in places like Palestine/Israel, where claims to various spaces and buildings are often violently disputed. There are obvious opportunities for tourism industries too, such as personalized celebrity (or peer) tour guides that visitors could subscribe to before embarking on a trip to, say, New York, or Shanghai.

All kinds of crap could erupt, too – what if unregulated tagging became spammy or inappropriately pornographic? How could we manage to keep vulnerable people, and children, out of harm’s way? And might we consider mapping the world into class-based tiers as was recently under consideration for the Internet?

And what about music? Would people drop podcasts in creative places? Secret treasure troves of rare music, waiting to be discovered only by those with a bug to explore and inspect urban environments very closely? Or would we just see lazy graffiti – stupid Youtube vids tossed to the ground randomly, of imbeciles dancing in their bedrooms?*

And how might this change our ideas about the space around us, and our meaning or purpose in it?

*but seriously – go there NOW! It’s Hammer time!

Online Identity, Trustbacks, and Taste Mapping

There has been a fair bit of crosstalk in the online identity management field lately. Online Dating Insider has the scoop on a pair of new standards (ClaimID and MicroID). Userplane is also rolling out a single ID system across all of its partner sites (whose ranks include Friendster, among other youth profile farms).

While OpenID and other systems for managing online identity have been around for some time, of late there seems to be more interest and R&D in this space. One idea which might prove very useful in the dating and social networking space is trustbacks. I’m intrigued by this idea, and also by how it could be deployed using existing tagging systems like del.icio.us, or even slashdot’s karma system.

Of course, in all of this talk of identity and credentials, my thoughts turn to music. If someone could plug trustbacks into last.fm, we can imagine the consequences. Music genres and personal music tastes could be mapped, intertwined with users’ opinions of other users’ music tastes. The current model of genre and taste mapping on last.fm depends on the quantity of users who associate particular artists with other artists. This is a taxonomy that could be gamed easily (for example, by a major label artist’s promotions team) using a large number of fake user accounts. Under a trustback system, some users would be rated more credible than others based on how highly the community values their contributions. Consequently, those users (and the things that they value) would bubble up to the top. Theoretically, irrelevant crap would sink to the bottom.

Properly implemented, this could get us past all those myspace whoretrains and “comment my new pics biatches!!!” bulletins that have become so tiresome.