Saturday, March 29, 2003

The Shape of Social Computing Applications

You know, Stewart Butterfield is on-to-something here and here and here.

Identity. Presence. Relationships. Conversations. Groups.

If I understand correctly, Stewart is describing a code platform that models these "technologies/devices/dimensions" and allows people to create their own layers of meaning (on top of the models). Sort of like controlled-chaos. Given the limitations of binary code, I think this is a reasonable approach. But I'd like to better understand how we (are able to) move between the (objective) models and the (subjective) narratives.

As an aside, it also seems to me that Stewart is describing things we do (sharing, collaborating, playing), in contrast to things we have (reputation, identity) - whereas I understand all of them as what we do - as our social practices. But I'm not sure how that plays out here.

Of course, Stewart is applying this thinking to The Game Neverending, and he rallies threedegrees, eyebees and quek as the shape-to-come for social computing applications. But what first attracted me to GNE were these quotes:

There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play. James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games

For many years the conviction has grown upon me that civilization arises and unfolds in and as play. Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens

And what I want to know now is how PLAY fits into notions of the swarm...


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