An Update of Thoughts & Activities

Tuttle Projects, EmptyShops in Medway (Kent),
Sustainable-Creativity, Open-Source & Open-Data,
PodCasts, Social-Media & HyperLocal-Activity-Streams
& Community-Spaces for future-thinking LikeMinds

Yesterday (02/06/10) I re-visited the blog post I published at the beginning of January 2010 entitled ‘A new year of opportunity for a Padawan‘ and I re-read the ‘Hopes for 2010’ bullet-point list that formed it’s sign-off – in doing so I was reminded of all the to-do-lists that I (and others) have since worked through; its been a busy few months, and a busy year thus far!

Now, less than six month into 2010, I’m encouraged to report that many of January’s bullet-point ‘hopes and aims’ are well on their way to being realised, some are even complete, and much more has happened to convince me that I’m personally (and professionally) on the right road – all I need to do now is appease my bank manager by building a sustainable business model out of what I know but I’ll still remember Steve Jobs advice: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish! ‘~)

In an attempt to mark some lines in my cognitive sand, I’ve decided to publish this update. What follows is last January’s re-prioritised bullet-point-list, accompanied by some written explanations – and just for the record, each point seems to me, to fit very neatly within the framework of Chris Messina’s latest SlideShare presentation (as embedded below). I hope the following provides some inspirational mind-fodder to you, and hopefully it delivers some mental-release and focus to me – putting such things in writing usually does ‘~)

Aim #1Afford travel & ticket to SXSW® Interactive, March 2010

I commence this update on a slightly ironic footing, my original #1 priority back in January was to “Update FellowCreative.com and define ‘What I Do’ so that I can provide my bank manager with some form of stable cashflow graph”. Today I find myself hesitantly declaring that I’m yet to achieve such stability but I’m very happy to report that I not only earned my way to SXSW Interactive 2010 in Austin Texas but whilst I was there I learned from, and met, many inspiring and forward-thinking people.

I didn’t find the time to specifically blog my SXSW experiences but I can say for certain that I benefited greatly from my trip in terms of knowledge, inspiration and connections – and I trust the content within ‘Social-Web for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups‘ (published in March) has since demonstrated this fact.

My trip state-side provided non-stop activity, when I wasn’t listening to presentations from the likes of Danah Boyd or Clay Shirky, or wrapped up in conversation, I was socialising with friends (some of whom I’d not met in person but had been talking to online for years) – in short, Austin left me speechless (quite literally horse upon my return) and I’d recommend the trip to anyone with an open-mind and a soft-spot for shiny things.

I’m also proud to note that during the SXSW Digital Mission Breakfast I found myself suggesting a bold idea to Intel (the world leader in silicon innovation, processor technologies and supporter of global initiatives to continually advance how people work) – it appears the idea has since been signed-off for implementation by Intel’s HR Vice President *~)

As a closing note on this, I’m also pleased to say that only days ago Nokia got in touch regarding LikeMinds in Helsinki – I will tweet as soon as I know more about the participatory four day trip, so far it sounds extremely interesting! *~)

Aim #2Organise a Tuttle101 Project (or bigger: BarCampKent)

I will assume that you are already familiar with the concept of BarCamp, and thus I’ll move onwards to an explanation of the lesser known Tuttle:

Lloyd Davis, the founder of The Tuttle Club, describes Tuttle as ‘a loose association of people finding a way of working better together both online and off.

As a Tuttle Club regular, I think of Tuttle as ‘a philosophy or approach’ more than a Club or Event; I perceive it less as a Noun or Event Name, and more as a Verb or Action ~ as in: ‘to Tuttle‘. I believe people are participants of Tuttle, not members or attendees. Everyone who experiences Tuttle walks away with their own unique experience and perception of its unframework, open-social-approach and value; but almost all those I’ve met describe it as ‘fun and inspiring’.

If you’re a likely friend of Harry Tuttle, I do hope to meet you soon:
YouTube Preview Image


My personal understanding of Tuttle continues to evolve daily but today I’ll pose the following definition: ‘a participatory action or moment in time, where the spaces between people (as individuals or in groups) provide an open-mind and conversational canvas for transversal lines and alternative angles of exploration, learning, perception, approach, collaboration, ideation and innovation, resulting in positive-participation and social-value‘ – or put simply, to Tuttle, is to have a great excuse for an open-minded conversation over a coffee or beer, plus its free to participate and provides a much better platform for social-interaction, education, inspiration and creative collaboration than any structured conference, speed-networking programme or lead generation event I’ve ever attended.

In September 09 I decided to introduce Tuttle to the community of Medway in Kent (UK) – Tuttle101 was born. Now, only eight months later there’s a ‘casual community’ mailing-list of 78+ and an expanding ‘core community’ of participants who actively propel things forward and encourage evolutions of the concept such as Tipple. Last month (17th May) Tuttle101 welcomed 19+ participants at 9:30am on a Monday, with a further 15+ appearing for Tipple101 on the evening of 25th May.
Click here for the latest info on Tuttle101 and Tipple101.

Such community participation was somewhat unexpected, but its been magically inspiring and welcomed; it has also presented challenges of time, resource and the eternal questions: So what’s Next? Is such a thing Sustainable? How could it be done better? Where’s the Value (social, financial, educational, transversal) ?

As it turned out, Tuttle Club founder Lloyd Davis had been asking the same questions – on 15th May 2010 I spent the day at TuttleCamp discussing such things amongst a small group of nationwide Tuttle participants – the agenda for the day ‘come talk about tuttle, lets see what happens’ – suffice to say it provided interesting and stimulating conversation between people who wouldn’t normally meet.

I left with a few nuggets of inspiration to ponder: 1) Tuttle – its not for everybody but it is for anybody. 2) Tuttle works best in a publicly social space such as a Café or Bar, partly because hosting drinks and washing-up is already catered for, but mostly because it automatically supports social inclusion and openness. 3) At least one person needs to assume the role of saying hello to new participants. 4) Twitter, more often than not, provides the social back-channel to Tuttle, and thus it automatically supports the unwritten rule of no business cards or name badges. 5) As highlighted by the principles of Activity Theory and Open-Source Community Management, Tuttle appears to develop both a ‘casual community’ and a ‘core community’, whilst removing any formal sense of hierarchy.

So, what’s next on the agenda for Tuttle101? Well, in many ways that’s up to the community but one core conversation from TuttleCamp continues to surface – the idea of Tuttle Projects. The concept of ‘core community participants’ being able to provide value to a wider community through collaborative projects – this interests me greatly and I hesitantly find myself paraphrasing Erasmus Darwin and Jenny Uglow’s book The Lunar Men: “a group of enlightened improvers abounding in charity’s deeds and everything valuable in human life, principles, ethics and social liberty”. The word ‘charity’ is perhaps a little misleading but ‘social-value’ is more my mindset – and already such projects have begun to present themselves:

A. Medway Council have expressed an interest to engage the Tuttle101 community in the redevelopment of their public service website – more information here. Such engagement is yet to be confirmed but things certainly look hopeful.

B. The result of much co-working and floor101.org related discussion and inspired by the national Empty Shops campaign, the tuttle101 community (@BecomeKnown @DavidBahia @OnMeJack & @FellowCreative – helped by Steve @KentishFella at Royal Tunbridge Wells #Twuttle) collaborated over the course of two days to Geo-Tag and Photograph 136 #EmptyShops across Medway – the result of which can be seen here as the beginnings of an Open-Source Platform ~ more information can be found under ‘Aim #3’ (below).

C. As the community grows and new faces arrive in the mix, opportunities and like-minded projects are beginning to present themselves, only last week I gave up a day of my time to help out Gary Weston @LightVessel21 – LV21 is a 40 metre steel-hulled lightship being transformed into a floating cultural facility, designed to provide a range of services promoting and supporting the creative industries in the Medway area and beyond. And please note, if you’re any good with paint-brushes, hammers or abseiling lights, Gary @LightVessel21 is happy to welcome all hands on deck! please ‘~) http://www.lv21.co.uk

LV21 Light Vessel

D. A PodCast, it seems that Steven @OnMeJack and myself @FellowCreative are in the midst of attempting such a production to help engage others in conversation and spread the word of local like-minds and unsigned musicians; as well as furthering discussion and connections towards HyperLocal-Activity-Streams and Community-Generated-NewspapersTheBridgePodCast is now available here!

E. The final Tuttle Project to mention is that of a KentBarCamp – at this stage there is nothing even planned, let alone confirmed, but I feel it worth mentioning that a collaborative group of like-minds is slowly forming that might just be able to realise such a feat in Kent ‘~)

If you’d like to participate, or have your own idea for a Tuttle Project(s), please do get in touch, and please do SignUp for Updates.
In addition I’d like to note: Tuttle101 is not owned by anyone, it merely exists because of its growing community of people – and this means that the community are free to shape it, use it, or discard it, as they please. With this in mind these assets are now available to help you, but please do let us know what you’re up to beforehand so we can help ‘~)

PS. I will also note that January’s ‘Aim #5 – Plan a 15,000ft LIVE-stream sky-dive for charity’ is now added to my Tuttle101 Project list but due to finance and time constraints, and a few technical checks awaiting completion, it is now at the very bottom of my priority list.

Aim #3Inspire an Open-Source Platform

When I set out this aim in January 2010 I thought it likely to be realised through http://deathbook.info (Facebook Privacy and Digital Legacy Issues) or other matters relating The Digital Economy Bill but today I simply point you in the direction of the #EmptyShops Flickr Gallery, the Public GeoTag data (longitude and latitude data) of 136 Shops across Medway, the National Empty Shops Network – and I suggest there is now a foundation upon which to build such a platform, so please do ‘~)

#EmptyShops locational-data and shop-front photos were collected during the 21st & 22nd of May 2010 between Strood, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham (Medway, Kent). Full details can be found here:

#EmptyShops #Medway – a Tuttle101 Project

Aim #4Update FellowCreative.com and define ‘What I Do’

Suffice to say that this is currently my #1 priority and I will be back with more details very soon! In the meantime I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who replied with an answer to my open question ‘What Do I Do?’ – as promised, below is a collection of your tweets, thank you for providing me such food for thought! ‘~)

What Do I Do?

“Sometimes you need someone else or something else to cultivate the great creative thinking. For a crucial piece of creative thinking we asked Carl to help facilitate us, and use his creative methodologies, his knowledge of our market but crucially his distance from our consultancy to improve our chances of making the mental jumps we needed. It worked! Carl was patient, thoughtful and used fun, theory and careful interventions to help us find ourselves some little gems of thought. A good man and one I’m happy to recommend”
Will McInnes, MD of NixonMcInnes

As I’ve said before, I believe we’re defined by What We Do, not by our Job Title’s. I still love my title ‘Creative Midwife & Joiner-of-Dots’ but ever since Will McInnes gave me his testimonial I’ve been pondering: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

#Deathbook : Post(s) Mortem of Social Media,
Online Content and Digital Rights Management

WORK IN PROGRESS (THIS IS CURRENTLY DRAFT AND REMAINS UN-EDITED AND UN-CHECKED – need to add more DRM and online media distribution and licensing details… creative commons and the fact BBC are developing their own version of Creative Commons…):

For the past few years, I and a few others have been asking questions like:

“What would happen to your email account, Facebook profile and Flickr photos if you were hit by a bus tomorrow?”


More and more people regard going online as a normal part of their daily activities (this is rising day by day, month on month and year on year), the Social Media Trends Map (and number of Web 2.0 services) grows daily and mobile internet use is set to triple by 2014 (Apples iPhone and iTouch already account for 3% of user traffic to BBC iplayer online TV).

As all of these trends increase, so do the numbers of social networks and mobile applications incorporating Web 2.0 compatible features; leading to a rapidly increasing number of media creators, digital content producers, bloggers (including micro-bloggers) and citizen journalists.

This digital evolution/revolution brings with it an increased number of User Accounts (including email addresses and user profiles across popular sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Bebo to name but a few; as well as business specific services such as LinkedIn).

As these technologies become ever closer to our fingertips, and as business, government, education and mainstream media (such as TV and news) adopt Social-Media Channels into their own communications, brands and communities (not just in the western world but also in the developing world) we’ll undoubtedly see further increases in the amount of digital content and data being produced and published (Eg. emails, blog posts, tweets, photos/pictures, audio recordings, videos, friends lists, favourites and bookmarks), plus more account based information generated such as online analytics, databases holding content such as event attendee details, rss subscriber lists, as well as such things as social network graphs and demographics).

All of the above has the ability to bring people together in conversation, education and collaboration which can be extremely empowering, positive and rewarding but it also raises many questions and concerns which I believe many of us are not taking seriously, or even considering.

The impact and sustainability of such technologies and infrastructures is truly a massive topic and one which goes far beyond the environmental impacts of energy consumption for google searches, efficiency of data storage and throw away aesthetic of mobile phones; in all likelyhood we’ll realise the true consequences of our current stupidity within the next five years – without having reliable statistics to hand it’d like to suggest that the population crisis we are currently facing (roughly 40% of the UK population are nearing Pension Age and this will probably increase to almost 60% within the next 20 years) will look like a drop in the ocean when compared to the amount of costly unused/archived/dead data of the future – all of which will need to be paid for in regards to storage and potential usage licensing.

As some of you may know, I buy domain names like some women reportedly buy shoes – and yes I’m looking at you PoppyD ‘-)

Back in 2007 I purchased the domain http://Deathbook.info (currently unused). At the time I didn’t know exactly why I felt compelled to hit the purchase button but over time it has become clear.

In 2008 I attended a BarCamp Brighton presentation on Death and Social-Media by Paul Silver where he raised and discussed some of the questions I’d been pondering (and continue to ponder) surrounding digital assets/rights management, online identity and its potential failing long-term:

If you die in the UK, your next of kin is given a death certificate. This is an official document notifying that a particular individual has died. To close bank accounts, sort out council tax, utility bills and credit accounts, you use the certificate to show a person has really died. This sort of paperwork is not a pleasant thing to deal with when you’re grieving for a loved one, but at least all the organisations you’re dealing with have policies and procedures to follow. What about websites and online assets?

+

Even with the introduction of OAuth and OpenID, many websites and services still use e-mail addresses to register, subscribe and login. However, the long-term problem with domains is that they’re rented, rather than bought. At some point, if you don’t renew it or perhaps even die, someone else will undoubtedly purchase your old domain (Eg. paulsilver.co.uk). Lets face it, their name will probably be Paul Silver and their e-mail address paul@paulsilver.co.uk. Presuming this, that person will find it very easy to gain access to lots of sites ‘Paul Silver’ registered with, because he used that email address to do so. If they try to register with that address, they may be told they’ve registered before, and then they can use the ‘forgotten password’ facility to get a password for the site. Suddenly, they’re Paul Silvers alias on the site. They can change the profile, delete old messages, see friends lists if it’s that sort of site, and so on – all on an account that isn’t technically theirs. This also leads to emails being delivered to the wrong recipient of the same name.

Since Paul’s talk I’ve heard various people discussing related topics and there’s even been services launched such as LegacyLocker.com and DeathSwitch.com that aim to solve some of the problems. (TechCrunch even wrote an article on LegacyLocker).

The topic continues to grow in momentum, with discussions and on topic presentations appearing everywhere; and although I can’t discuss (and don’t know specifics) I’m aware of at least one related UK start-up that’s attracting VC interest.

In 2010 (March 12th-16th) Austin Texas will be host to SXSW Interactive – five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology. There is a long list of proposed talks and presentations submitted towards a public vote but I’m slightly concerned that only one appears to explore this topic:

‘Posts Mortem’ – aims to address some of the larger, wider and as yet un solved issues of the increasing digital economy. Proposed by Adele McAlear

In support of Adele’s proposed presentation and in line with the growing adoption of social media and mobile related technologies by government, business, education and society – whilst recognizing the principles and initiatives of such movements as RebootBritain, OpenRightsGroup and BootCycle – I’d like to make deathbook.info an available home for a #Deathbook Campaign to increase awareness, encourage discussion and inspire government lobbying for much needed consideration, policy, understanding and transparency surrounding the topic.

I’d love to hear your thoughts =)

PS: Don’t forget to vote for Posts Mortem