Blogging and identity panel proposal for SXSW

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Hugh Forrest, the indomitable lead organizer of South by Southwest Interactive has announced a public process for voting on and vetting panel ideas for next year’s conference. Apparently it will take several rounds, with the first round narrowing down the 173 panel proposals.

The voting is open to anyone, but the votes of past attendees of SXSW are weighted more strongly and those of past presenters are given even further weight.

Here’s part of Hugh’s announcement:

I wanted to alert you that the online interface for panel proposals for the 2007 SXSW Interactive Festival is now live. This page allows users to give us their feedback on which of the many outstanding panel proposals they feel are most appropriate for next year’s event.

Complete directions for the voting process are listed on the site. Deadline for voting is September 8.

I’ve got two panel proposals in the running, the first of which is more directly related to the mission of this blog:

Every Breath You Take: Identity, Attention, Presence, and Reputation Online

No privacy? Spy on yourself and commodify your attention stream! Countless representations of ourselves flood the net with information daily. What is happening to our models of attention? trust? reputation? Rate my new fighting style unstoppable and I’ll trade you this artifact I forged in Worlds of Warcraft… Expect a lively debate from noted experts on attention and identity and skeptics who think most of the sentences above are content-free.

(filed under blogging and education / sociological)


You’re It! Tagging is so over! It’s the People, Stupid!

Resolved: the tagging meme has overstayed its welcome. No, tags aren’t going away but they are not a user-experience panacea. Are we folksonomic yet? Some ideas about the next frontier in malleable, emergent information architectures and classification schemes. Plus, how to apply the lessons of the global social internet to more niche oriented web application development projects. Tag pioneers, theorists, and skeptics beat a dead horse.

(filed under social networks and user generated / open source)

Vote for my panels and eight others! (occasional RFB contributor Liza Sabater has three great proposals up, including one on and another on blog “sheroes” and Jon Lebkowsky, my partner in hosting the blog conference on the Well has a couple more worthy of a vote). I also recommend Prentiss Riddle’s panel idea bout teaching children to program with Lego Mindstorms.

Is ANWR as ugly as they say?

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Jim Goldstein was up in Alaska in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge recently and brought back these photographs.
He says, “A conservative friend asked me, ‘Is ANWR as really as ugly as they say it is? This alarmed me a great deal after having one of the best photo trips I’ve taken to date. The beauty of ANWR is almost unparalleled.”

Scaling back the blog(s)

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I just don’t post to RFB much these days. Nor do my other contributors. Does that blog need to continue? Should I put it to rest? I like the “this day in” stuff from the past, but of course a lot of it is dated. Is there any value to a legacy blog-on-blogging that doesn’t even have a post about, say the recent beta release of Vox from Six Apart?
Plus what do I do with the moderate traffic pointing there from Google? Redirect it to x-pollen?
Likewise, do I need to keep supporting The Power of Many till the end of time? I swear, next book I write I’ll blog about it in an existing blog instead of spawning a new one. If the book needs its own website, it can get its blog content by republishing a feed from my main blog on the topic, along with a set of delicious bookmarks tagged with ‘presence’.
I would like to recommit to blogging here daily. I’ve been neglecting the personal side of my life blogwise, at the expense of professional concerns and the occasional political or other current-affairs type posting.
I miss the daily journaling aspect of blogging and I think it’s helpful – for me, at least – to reflect on a daily basis on what’s going on around me.

Snakes on the m.f. plane

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Oh, man. I can’t wait to see Snakes on a Plan, starring Samuel L. Jackson. When Mike Stillman posted from a screenwriter who’s turning “snakes on a plane” into a mantra, and it looks like it is for real.
Here’s another guy’s idea of how the script might look:

SAMUEL L JACKSON: You’ve got to listen to me. There are SNAKES… on the PLANE!
CUT TO: Samuel L Jackson punching a snake. The snake is wearing a pair of jeans.
Jackson finally knocks the snake out. He rummages through the snake’s pockets and is shocked by what he finds.
SAMUEL L JACKSON: Oh my God. This snake has a PILOT’S LICENCE!
CUT TO: Samuel L. Jackson is talking on one of those phones they have in the seatbacks of planes. Tears are streaming down his face.
SAMUEL L JACKSON: Listen, sweetie, I know I haven’t been the best father. I’m so sorry. I don’t think I’m going to get through this, and I wanted you to know something: I love you very, very much. Oh, and by the way, there are motherfucking SNAKES! On the goddamn PLANE!
VOICEOVER: Coming soon: SNAKES ON A PLANE. Because on a plane… nobody can hear the snakes.

Analogy as the core of cognition

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I majored in philosophy in college. At Princeton nearly all liberal arts majors (and many of the engineering students too) have to write a senior thesis to graduate.
I was interested in philosophy of language and wrote a thesis called “Is Metaphor Necessary for Communication?” In it I argued that metaphor was much more than a rhetorical frill but in fact constituted a primary building-block of communication.
Briefly put, I suggested that it’s only through comparisons with existing shared ideas that new ideas (ideas from one person that are new to another) are introduced into a dialogue between two people
In Analogy as the Core of Cognition, a Stanford presidential lecture, Douglas Hofstadter makes a rather similar point:

To me, however, analogy is anything but a bitty blip — rather, it’s the very blue that fills the whole sky of cognition — analogy is everything, or very nearly so, in my view.

I find it particularly interesting that he illustrates some of his points by discussing the process of translation, which was also a topic in my thesis.