A Conversation Across Space And Time

World 2.0 seems to have raised it’s periscope within our culture almost 5 years ago, in the immediate post-9/11 world. Who would’ve thunk it possible?

Brad Neuberg on October 21, 2001:

The world seems to be hungry for an ideological alternative to capitalism. I don’t know if this is a rational or simply emotional need for something to challenge what is now the dominant ideology of the age, but I predict that as soon as a semi-credible ideological alternative to capitalism arises that it will spread like wildfire and produce another Cold War type situation. Communism used to be it, but is now defunct and dead, while fundamentalist Islam semi-fills this need in parts of the world. I’ve noticed this need to challenge capitalism while traveling; I can even see it in myself.

I’ve never met Brad—as a matter of fact, I was only introduced to his blog tonight via Messina’s post—yet I dropped a similar perspective on the state of capitalism on the other side of the planet just two weeks later in the fall of 2001.

Coincidence or…?

The collective unconscious has always been a powerful concept, but before blogging, it wasn’t a tangible construct. It took the invention of the permalink and intra-day personal publishing to even begin to generate enough trails of human expression to expose Jung’s concept of unspoken, shared realities and archetypes.

While The Cluetrain gang introduced the concept of a global conversation to netizens back in 1999, what I find so interesting about the blogosphere since that time, is that the very notion of a conversation has the potential to become explicitly amplified and extracted to become findable across new dimensions of length and density.

The web is now chock full of meshed thoughts and dreams, connected explicitly by hyperlinks, loosely by tags and conceptually by discovery. With a shift in search result interface paradigms, the possibilities for more complete, immediate research queries are endless.

Topical themes—or memes—shift intra-day and can last as conversations either as sporadic and finite bunches (Jill Carroll’s abduction and release over a three month period) or prolonged variants (George Bush’s presidency). Imagine what types of conversational connections will become possible when interfaces, such as a Technorati search result, leaves the conservative constraints of separated permalink results based on latest entries or authority, and instead focuses on the clustering of such conversations through visual metaphors across other dimensions.

And no, I’m not talking about a folder paradigm.

I’m talking about dynamic, visual representations of conversations, with the ability to shift in real-time, using attributes such as tags and language co-occurance to drive groupings within oppositional variants such as the length and density of the conversation.

cluster-conversation

The day our thoughts and dreams stop getting lost in the cracks of time and authority, we’ll be one step closer to the knowledge revolution, leaving information in the dust with data. Then the decolonization of cyberspace can begin with earnest.