Friday, March 24, 2006

Blogs + Tags = AnthroSpime 0.10

My co-worker and co-blogger from OCLC, Alane Wilson, posted two entries today on the fabulous "It's All Good" blog she co-authors with a couple other OCLCers:

The first is about the concept of objects that are embedded with a high-degree of "networkable" data. I don't want to get into the whole definition of spimes or blogjets here... see Alane's post for some good links, or all spime tags.

Basically, though... imagine objects with RFID tags or similar technology that know everything about themselves, their relationships to the systems in which they operate, the other objects with which they come into contact and, of course, the people they interact with. There are all kinds of applications and scenarios for this technology, some of which is available and in application now, in early stages. We've had bar codes for years, for example. And RFID has been around for awhile, too. But, at this point, those two techs mostly tell us what something is and, in some cases, where, and where it came from.

We can get into the practical and sci-fi, the potentially cool and possibly evil uses of spimes (or whatever they end up being called) at some point in the future. But in Alane's second post, there was something that made me leap back to the first in my wee think bone:

My session, "Scanning for Planning" was blogged by Jenica at Thinking Out Loud who makes me sound a lot more coherent that I thought I was, and in a later post she mentions the silver necklace I was wearing, approvingly. Thank goodness. Perhaps I am exposing my Digital Immigrantness, but it is just odd to read little bits and pieces about yourself all over the blogosphere. And it is a reminder that the Panopticon is here and that our words and actions become part of the observed world very quickly.

Well... blogs and tags are performing, for many folks, some of the functions of spimes right now, albeit highly selectively and very manually. As Alane found out, the information about what necklace she was wearing (data on one aspect of her physical manifestation) in terms of her location (at the CIL conference) was recorded by a blogger. Perhaps for all eternity.

That blog entry is, of course, just one data point. But it's one of a type that was unavailable even five years ago.

Tagging makes it easier for all of us to decide which data points we want to measure in terms of our own space in the dataverse. Blogging is the data creation; tagging (of all sorts) is the fixing of data on grids of our choosing.

So, for example, if Alane is an "anthro spime" in whom I have an interest, I tag her blog (with an RSS reader, or a tag, or a simple browser bookmark) and "spoing!" I've got a data lock on Alane's trail as she moves across the infonet.

As more and more of what we do is done online and in shared, network spaces, more of our work/fun product will be "networkable" as data, and "tagable" in this manner.

We are the first "things" on the "Internet of Things." Kinda gives me a chill up and down my spime. Har-de-har-har.

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