Speechless @ 100,000 visits

November 23, 2008


Knowing that this blog begun in November 2006 has now reached its 100,000 visit left me speechless. I believe my first blogging experience was with Flickr in the fall of 2006. Since then I discovered the interconnectivity of a rhizome of 2.0 technologies.

Over the past few hours search engines sent visitors to this site to find answers for these queries: “Treaty Seven timeline” (2), Jennifer Naglingniq (1), “dangerous concepts for a business economy” (1), “ripples” (1), bringing the blog into six-digits.

Creative Commons

I uploaded my layered .psd image entitled Creative Commons to my free Flickr account on October 22, 2006. It was viewed 43,393 times and 23 people call it a favorite.

I believe I uploaded this image to Flickr on October 22, 2006. By January 2009 25 people tagged this image as a favorite and it had been viewed 46, 003 times. Because it was one of the earlier images I posted in my Flickr account, once my free Flickr account hit the magic number of 200 images, this one and many others are no longer visible on my photostream. However, since it is well-tagged and linked to this blog and others, and has been highlighted and used by others through the Creative Commons Licensing, it is still being found through searches!

The more recent revised version Creative Commons II is still available on my Flickr photo stream .

Creative Commons II

I know a pro account would bring these missing images back into the photo stream, but I do not want to take the risk of album deletions, etc. And my cyber experiment has been with open source and free accounts.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/89488115@N00/276344173


which world religions get excluded?

Washington Post's blog On Faith: which world religions get excluded?

When I began to become enraptured with Web 2.0 I wanted to find ways to use intelligent, emerging instruments from the semantic web to continually improve findability and search optimization of resources I had gathered over many years, even if my own PC broke down and all my back up systems failed, and my own memory became faulty, or . . . I had hoped that blogging would help me remember where I put things that might someday be useful again.

The catalyst for “Folksonomy: optimizing soul searching” was a question regarding how absent categories impose their presence through their very absence. Faced with closed field category/subcategory options offered by Digg for example, under which I had to place my article, etc I struggled between philosophy or society, finance or economics, environment or politics.

I have also found it enlightening to find under which categories my own Creative Commons blogs, articles, posts and images might appear.

As my own sites grow organically, my categories and parent categories constantly need to be reformulated; new tags added and others deleted or merged. The goal is efficiency and elegance in the ungainly word of “findability” or search engine optimization, potent instruments in the semantic web.

At times I am frustrated by the absence of categories that exclude entire populations and conversations. Recently I came across a site hosted by the Washington Post. In their About page they describe how they use the limitless space of the online world to host a blog entitled “On Faith” which invites “intelligent, informed, eclectic, respectful,fruitful, intriguing and constructive conversation-among specialists and generalists about the things that matter most, religion, the most ancient of forces, the most pervasive yet “least understood topic in global life.”

I read comments and the post from David Grant, a junior at Virginia Tech who commenting on his visit to the Baha’i gardens in Haifa,Israel-Palestine (which has recently been named as an International Heritage Site) remarking on the broad reach of the Baha’i religion. “Where else on Earth could you find a family from the Bible Belt, a pair of South Africans currently working in Japan, and a crew of Peruvians all heading to say their prayers at the same spot?”

I wanted to search “On Faith” for more strings on the Baha’i but realized that Baha’i World Faith was not offered in their pop-up menu of “List Posts by Topics” which did include: Anglican, Atheist/Agnostic, Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, Earth-based Spirituality, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal, Evangelical, Greek Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Mainline Protestant, Mormon, Muslim, Native American religion, Protestant, Quaker, Sikh, Taoist, Wiccan.

As of February 2008 there were 5,000,000 Baha’is in the world and 159,692 Baha’is in the United States. I couldn’t find a figure for either Taoist or Wiccans but one site at least claimed that in 2001 there were c. 34,000 Wiccans in the US.

Baha’is promote tolerance and moderation and are anxiously concerned with the social issues of the time in which they live. Baha’is around the globe contribute to civil society at locally, regionally, nationally levels on issues and programs related to World Religion Day, interfaith relations, religious freedom, Race Unity Day, race unity, elimination of prejudice, advancement of women (CEDAW), human rights, among others. Baha’is have offices at United Nations as NGO are are prominent in international forums as invited participants acknowledged for civil moderate behaviour in the most volatile situations. Recently the U.S. Bahá’í U.N. representative Jeffery Huffines received a Friendship Award for his work “promoting cultural understanding throughout the world and at the UN Headquarters” and for serving as a “positive, guiding force” to all. It is surprising that Baha’is seem to be largely absent from this forum.

The categories offered under “List Posts by Topics” are confusing since some are parent categories for the others. The Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants and Evangelical are all followers of Christ and are all therefore Christians. Which discussions take place solely under the name of Anglican, Mainline Protestants and Episcopal? In terms of the semantic web it would be far more useful to provide a theme-based “List of Topics” that is inclusive of all the groups and religions mentioned. Tags could be used to facilitate searches for a Quaker, Sikh or Baha’i or Catholic perspective, for example. I would recommend that the blog architects revisit and update their taxonomy using principles of folksonomy: what users do with words.

Years of working with research materials leads to a way of thinking with categories, subcategories; key words (tags); abstracts, descriptions, key concepts, timelines, references in .eml or similar formats. The semantic web revs up that process with powerful tools. So my blogs are always a work in progress, process works.

My own personal blogs are experimental and while I am very conscientious about what is here, I can claim no professional authority in any one field.

At this time in my life I feel as if I live outside linear time. Blog stats soar up suddenly for no apparent reason on a blog posted weeks or month ago. So I tidy it up a little. Then the graph drops sharply again with no apparent reason. I don’t need to try to control it.

Outside linear time, I could just pick up threads begun months ago on Milton Friedman, the social history of Inuit, media objectivity or what we do in the name of such concepts as “memory work” or “everyday life.” Through creative commons I could share all my teaching, learning and research resources without having to shorten them, tidy them up or make them ready for someone else’s deadline. Take what you need and leave the rest. I would still work as hard as I could to maintain my own standards particularly in investigating , acknowledging and referencing sources of information, images, etc.

As I am creating, writing, coding, snurling, twittering, blogging, and uploading to wikipedia, social bookmark accounts, my blogs or others’ etc I have absolutely no trust in anyone.

I post knowing that anything I have shared can be misinterpreted, misunderstood, misread. It can be rejected, ignored, criticized. It can be copied and pasted without my name attached. I license all my work under the Creative Commons License 3.0 SA-NC-BY but I know it cannot be enforced in most cases.

So why bother?

What I do is not based on my need to trust others in cyberspace. I do not feel as though I am an embodied link in an embodied network in linear time and space.

This is even more than that. If I use the semantic web effectively, a searcher who is not “now” from a geographic location that is not “here” can still find my arrows, my markers, hotwords and icons, index-mouse-clicks that might just help them a little in their search. Maybe I will be that searcher.

It is more important to me to work hard at providing information that is not misinformation, trying hard to be as close to the truth as is possible, to use the most powerful arguments from the most reliable texts available to me at any given time.

I am not an anthropologist nor a journalist; I am definitely not a churnalist. My responsibility to me and therefore to others in this network or not, is to post that which I believe to be useful in a way that allows others to follow a trail of truth claims should they choose.

Thirteen years ago Francis Fukuyama in Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity (1995) questioned predictions that the Internet, the computer to computer communication network, unleashed from restrictions imposed by its creator, the Department of Defense, would herald a new organizational network constituted by small firms and individuals that would prove to be superior to large, hierarchical corporations and anarchical market relationships (Fukuyama 1995:195). Fukuyama argued that network efficiency depended on reciprocal moral judgment [1], “a high level of trust and the existence of shared norms and ethical behaviour between network members (Fukuyama 1995:195).” He contrasted the necessity of that network users share social responsibilities and obligations with hackers and other users who were “free spirits hostile to any form of authority . . . vulnerable to certain forms of normlessness and asocial behaviour.”

Fukuyama furthered argued that the Internet is a community of shared values using the concept similar to Shumpei Kumon’s notion of “consensus/inducement-based exchange.” He felt that Internet users in the 1970s and 1980s (mainly government and academic researchers) internalized unquestioned shared values. The Internet could be kept low-cost if users respected certain ethical standards.

In 1994 two lawyers broke the Internet’s code of ethics and bombarded news groups with advertisements for their services (Fukuyama 1995:196). The lawyers were not breaking any written laws and were not shamed into retreat. However, the sheer quantity of hate mail they receive, forced their server shut down.

Although the monitization of all things Internet is well underway, there is also exponential growth in cyberworld capital [2] which like cultural capital or academic capital can facilitate access to certain privileges. I am aware of ways in which users of social networking sites strategize to optimize search engine findability, to increase their hits, statistics, and cyberworld capital.

I am not certain if the success in accumulating cyberworld capital or monitizing all things Internet is made more efficient by trust?

Notes

1. Fukuyama compares network as community concept to the Japanese concept of keiretsu and its western reincarnation in American conglomerates like Gulf + West + ITT. keiretsu depends on a high level of trust.

2. Some measure cyberworld capital in terms such as “authority” as with Technorati. Others self-identify as A1bloggers.


As I learn more about the ever-expanding potential of Web 2.0 I am working on my own personal use of folksonomy as a creative, organic, rhizomic, dynamic and growing mind map, a virtual memory palace. I need tools with codes that are generous, robust and designed to be inclusive and accessible. WordPress’ powerful folksonomy tools is enhanced by its connectivity with the Google search engine. Users can review detailed statistics of page views in stats > manage files > WordPress. By examining how viewers stumbled upon your content you can refine and improve both findability and content utility.

For over a decade I had used EndNote not only as a bibliographic database but a database of key concepts, acryonyms, timelines, biographies which gradually emerged as part of a digital mindmap. With versions from c. 2005 onwards EndNote became more and more proprietorial, very expensive and full of technical problems that could be resolved by purchasing an even newer version or spending hours on one small but essential detailed process.

Unfortunately since I stopped entering new data into EndNote two years ago in my search for a Web 2.0 open source solution, I miss EndNote and I am slowly beginning to use it again. I will develop it in tandem with the myriad of Open Source software available.

In an attempt to make more efficient use of hyperlinks I have started using anchors available under the “bookmarking” capacity in in my Google Docs as links between citations and bibliographic entries at the end of the document.

 [Anchors are HTML coded inserts that are useful in linking footnotes and bibliographic citations in hypertext documents. I am experimenting with anchors again in WordPress at the same time. This document was published as a Google doc and then automatically sent to this blog. The Google doc anchors do not work in WordPress which is understandable since anchors are document url related.  So I changed the Google Docs anchor HTML coded links to be compatible with the specific WordPress post url, then added the #aname code and link. So the full url of the anchored text in this post entitled "Mapping Your Mind as a Memory Palace using Folksonomy" is <a href=" http://oceanflynn.wordpress.com/2007/12/29/mapping-your-mind-as-a-memory-palace-using-folksonomy#collectiveconscience"> collective conscience </a>

The text can be anchored by using the simple HTML code <a name ="collectiveconscience">collective conscience</a> in the specfic section of the post that you want to link. So far I have only corrected the one anchor.]

 My Google docs are an odd combination of timelines of the social history, a who’s who, bibliography and webliography, tag clouds of documents I have mined related to a phenomenon that is a sister node on the rhizome of my mind map.

CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Mapping Your Mind as a Memory Palace using Folksonomy.” December 28, 2007. http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddp3qxmz_456kbxxr6fw


Schmap is the latest of the web 2.0 technologies that heighten my connectivity on the Internet. One of my Creative Commons Flickr photos of Calgary’s Nose Hill Park was picked up by Schmap through Flickr’s powerful Search Engine Optimized tagging tools  – folksonomy for Flickr photo folks. We were planning a trip to the 12 Days of Christmas at Calgary’ Heritage Park. As I use Schmap to prepare for our outing this weekend, I feel somewhat like a 2.0 volunteer in my newly-adopted city.  

North Carolina-based Schmap has been operating since 2004 providing free digital travel guides for 200 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, Canada (with Calgary as one of its highlighted cities), Australia and New Zealand.

They also offer an innovative technology that lets bloggers insert schmapplets – a range of fully customizable map mashups and map widgets  on their personal blogs. I have tried to add the widget to Speechless but it didn’t work. Probably just as well as I am concerned that my WordPress blog is slow to open on machines that don’t have my images and files in cache.

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