Last week saw the third edition of BarCamp in Amsterdam. Located, just as the first one (and second BarCamp ever), at Mediamatic offices near Amsterdam Central Station, a small group of people gathered to discuss their projects. I am not a coder, but do like to talk about the wishes and dreams I have about my tools. As before this was the still evolving story I brought to the programme.
The full title of my topic was "The tools I need/want but that don’t exist yet, or I am unaware of."
I started with a sketch of the three major quantitative changes I see.
First an increase in connections between people (induced by new global infrastructure like mobile telephony and internet).
Second, an increase in speed and dynamics (when you build roads, you create traffic)
Third an increase in information until the level of abundance.
As our previous strategies to deal with connections, speed and information don’t scale into a networked globalized world, we see qualitative answers emerging.
Those qualitative answers are along the lines of:
First a more pro-active attitude, making your own sense of the world.
Second different priorities in existing and new information skills.
Third, new tools and work forms that cater to a pro-active attitude, and different information skills.
The shift I see, also in working with clients, away from the Web 2.0 avant garde, is to a higher level of cooperation: networked co-creation. Here I quoted Ivan Labra from his talk at BarCamp Brussels, where he distinguishes three maturity levels (sharing information, coordinating tasks, co-creation).
When I look at what this requires to build effective working routines, I see things like:
Pattern recognition, and taking those patterns as input signals.
Being human on-line: more subtle and granular negotiation of trust levels and intimacy in information exchanges.
Visualisation: what is the quality of my social network as a filter, where are the white-spots, echo-chambers, dark zones.
True co-creation: simultaneous editing, re-arranging and adding, in real-time.
What resulted was a good conversation, in which others gave some tips and pointers to tools that might provide buidling blocks (though most were familiar). Yahoo Pipes, Megite, Quartz, APML and Open Search were among those mentioned.
I also noted in this conversation how deeply ingrained a notion it is that we look at information piece-meal. Where my point is, that I don’t look at individual information pieces when I want to get a feeling for what is happening in my communities. I look at what they are talking about, not what they are saying immediately. When I have a specific question to answer, then I do read individual items/entries that look to provide parts of the answer.
My main take-away however was the realization, in line with the needed pro-active attitude mentioned above, that I need to dig into this deeper myself. Have a dive into sources on data-mining and into the pointers given.
It also triggered me to think about redesigning the way I gather and combine my RSS feeds. That is the topic for the next posting.