From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

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Objects That Blog: The Future of Content?

The first few days of February I'll be at Lift, a content on the near future of technology, people and communication. Nicolas Nova and others have organized this conference, together with a workshop on Blogjects — a not particularly clever neologism I came up with for objects that blog. This topic ties into the idea of proximity-based interaction and usage scenarios for mobile contexts, the main theme of the NetMagnet research project I'm working on through the Netpublics seminar. An informed speculation I have is that the future of content creation and dissemination won't just come from people. It will also come from the social world of objects — things that have histories and experiences. A different kind of witness upon the world, and a witness to events that are of interest to the other blogging species — people.

Micro local content is one area in which this may be of practical concern. Just this afternoon I had a nice long meeting with Elizabeth Osder at Yahoo Media in Santa Monica. We discussed many things, including how to reward local communities for disseminating news about local sports events. I mean..really local sports events — the little league team scores, for instance. Now, this fits into a larger conversation about the news content ecology, but just taking this particular problem in hand in the context of the Blogject: why don't scoreboards blog?  Sure, it's not a question deserving any measure of brilliance for the asking, but it suggests a (super simple) example of the Blogject.

Why are blogging objects interesting? The idea bubbled up as I was reading Bruce Sterling's "Shaping Things". The  — the "thing" in the world that knows itself and is able to tell things around it about itself. RFID is the Paleostine era for Spimes. Blogjects are Spimes that are fluent and legible, so that anyone can read them. Blogjects are meant for humans to read, in human code, not encrypted Arphid data. Blogjects are the prototype framework to experiment, DIY style, with what Spimes can become.

The current, upgraded brain of the Aibo blogs, for instance.

The motivation here is not just to create objects that blog, as we now understand blogging. But to use the framework of the complete blog social formation as one in which objects participate — first-class — in the entire multipath culture circulation network. That means syndication, layering meaning on content, trackback, etc.

There are several Blogject prototype projects on the front burner. One is a Sakura riff called flavonoid, turned around into a U.S. idiolect, focusing on the present day craze with Pedometers. Another is a way to turn device logs into material that's legible to humans. I've already gone on and on about FlightAware, but there are other idioms — for instance, Motion Based, a community-based mobile social software framework that slurps up device track logs and translates them into fitness goals and regimens.

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Submitted by jbleecker on December 29, 2005 - 2:35am


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