The Augmented Social Network & Smallness

Finally got round to having a re-scan through all 63 pages of The Augmented Social Network over my salami & feta foccacia (’tis not all barbies down here :o) and had rather a lot of ‘bings’ (moire than your average lunchful).

For example, the assertion that ‘the software and systems we choose for our communications carry with them, in subtle ways, the values we care to achieve as a society’ rings truer than ever and makes me cringe all the more when I hear, which I frequently do, people on high determining that ‘it’s the pedagogy that should push the technology’ and so on.

Also, and this fits in with a wonderful email Charlie sent me about the values of smallness, that when the online community started out ‘early users of the internet could, with some assurance, feel they shared affinities with others they met online… “Back then we knew who everybody was. We knew who to trust”‘.

Which of course links in with the ASNs primary goal, to provide ‘Persistent [& Interoperable] Identity’:

“Enabling individuals online to maintain a persistent identity as they move between different Internet communities, and to have personal control over that identity. This identity should be multifarious and ambiguous (as identity is in life itself), capable of reflecting an endless variety of interests, needs, desires, and relationships. It should not be reduced to a recitation of our purchase preferences, since who we are can not be reduced to what we buy.”

Now I’m not so keen on the concepts of brokered relationships or of public interest matching technologies… in my view that’s what we do as people when we have persistent & interoperable identities… but there’s a lot here which ties in very nicely with the centered communication angle, and of course takes it out of the organisation and deposits into the world (which is funny as I feel like sometimes I’m doing the opposite).

A quick google brought up a pointer to an interview with Ken Jordan via Seb at Many2Many in which even more interestingly he points out the shortcomings of social network systems like Friendster (see the seb post for a good summary of these points). I feel an affinity coming on :o)

So, I guess I’m wondering now… what happened? There’s a site with (ironically) a collaborative blog (with nothing published to it). Something tells me that the idea of everyone having an online presence controlled by one centralised area seems to have passed on now, but don’t we actually have something like the interoperability considered there in RSS?

Where’s the ASN gone? Why?