Edge, the world question center asked scientists the question ‘what have you changed your mind about? why?‘ It’s an interesting collection of people telling something very personal. Changing your mind is good, although it often takes some courage because it feels like admitting a mistake.
What I changed my mind about
I believe in a future for hypernarrative in storytelling, navigating through a non-linear structure of pieces of information that gives you a personalized story. I thought in 2007 interactive storytelling would have it’s online breakthrough like YouTube had the year before. I thought companies would start to experiment with serious interactive stories since bandwidth, computers and technology are no longer limiting factors.
I was wrong, storytelling did take an enormous leap in 2007, not because of professional producers, but by people starting to embrace notification media. Websites like Twitter, Jaiku, Facebook, Hyves and Flickr. Online storytelling grew not because of bandwidth and fancy interactive video but because of text.
With notification media we tell short fragments that are by itself almost worthless. But once you follow someone and read (parts of the) the stream of fragments a story is created.
It had nothing to do with bandwidth or technology. It had probably more to do with a state of mind and a younger or open generation of web users who are not being afraid to expose a lot of personal information online. Information about yourself. Where you are, what you are doing and if you like it or not. Todays teenagers choose between privacy and identity and for them identity beats privacy.
The popularity of notification services brings a new challenge for search engines. Indexing a blog post or article is easy compared to indexing a fragmented story. Notifications aren’t tagged, often they don’t follow up on each other and I’m not sure if you can even solve this by introducing a complete semantic web.
By adding the live notifications the web brought more meaning to some people and less to the computers indexing it. Let’s see who is the first to make useful information of this rapid growing amount of fragmented notification data, Google?
Read about what Kevin Kelly and Xeni Jardin changed their minds.
Kevin Kelly (Wired) about Wikipedia
Xeni Jardin (Boing Boing) about the online community