A meta-narrative is created each time we interpret reality. The way in which we traverse space, see and evaluate things, choose information, establish our ethics and values, communicate with others and understand what they say, and use all the stimuli coming from the world to continuously mutate and transform ourselves is a narrative that takes the form of a continuous process of remix and mash-up.
This form of emergent, recombinant narrative finds direct application with digital technologies and networks, establishing an interesting parallel running between the the ways in which we think and the ways in which we act on the internet.
From more than one point of view it can be said that the internet is modeled onto the processes which we use when thinking, communicating and producing/exchanging knowledge. Starting from a different approach, the relationship can also be inverted by stating that we are progressively modeling our mental models onto the ones enabled and enacted by the internet.
[macme title='Manuel Castells' id='37']
This bi-directional and emerging relationship between our minds and the internet is creating transformations to multiple domains of human life and activity. As described in Manuel Castells‘s “The Rise of the Network Society”, the wide availability and accessibility of information and interconnection technologies has produced multiple forms of this mutation. The architecture of information on the Internet, its hypertextuality and non-linearity, the concepts of ubiquity and simultaneity, are shaping our ideas of what can be called knowledge, information, attention, relation.
The emergence of the widely accessible mechanisms and interaction metaphors dedicated to sharing, clustering and disseminating information widely known as Web 2.0, has enabled new forms of learning, knowledge, relation and interpretation models.
The transformation of technologies and their dissemination in physical space under forms that are almost invisible, beyond the ideas of screens and common interfaces, and the connection to the concepts of meaning and of semantics, bringing forth the concepts of Web 3.0 and of Ubiquitous Computing, are completely transforming our perception and usage patterns of the world.
Knowledge can be produced, exchanged and interrelated by using tools which can enable us to select, classify, store and communicate the information which constitutes our own perception of the world, and this can be shared, interconnected and remixed with other sources of information and vision, emulating and integrating with the social processes which are at the base of our presence in the world.
Personal Curation Tools explicitly go in this direction. These tools allow users to collect information and to classify it in multiple ways, expressing a sort of externalized mind which is used to manage and express our vision on the digital world.
Personal Curation Tools allow users to collect and organize information in ways which make sense to them. It includes software applications with functionalities such as:
- note taking
- link and multimedia archival and classification
- snippets archival and classification
- information clustering and classification
- information interconnection and relation
Scoop.it again allows you to create topic centric information, and share with others. Recognising that it takes both time, energy and skill to write a blog, Scoop.it have lowered the barrier to entry for anyone to begin the curation process, and develop webpages which are high value, content rich, topical hubs. Content can be curated through the web interface directly, or through a browser bookmarklet, and the interface closely resembles that of Paper.li, with a column based newspaper style layout for each of the content hubs.
As with Redux, a way to ‘follow’ users and content as also been implemented to allow you to receive updates within a topic, and you can also suggest additional sites for the administrator of that topic hub to add to their curated masterpiece. Another clever touch is the statistics which are available on every scoop, which undoubtedly drives interaction forward, and encourages users to share all the more.
[macme title='PearlTrees' id='40']
A flash site with an interesting interface, PearlTrees allows users to curated content either together, or with the assistance of others. Individual URL’s or ‘Pearls’ as they are known in the interface can be added to a PearlTree, or a root element, bringing together websites under a particular topic area. Users can choose to join forces, and collaborate together to create huge Pearl Trees with infinite links.
A social element is also available with the service, and users can see how many hits both their pearls and profiles are receiving as well as commenting on other Pearls.
For those of you not so keen on using Flash to wiggle your way around, a browser extension for Chrome is available, allowing you to easily add to a Pearl directly from the browser without the hassles.
[macme title='Storify' id='41']
Storify places much attention to number of social services which have currently inside their interface that you can curate from. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, RSS, Delicious, SlideShare, AudioBoo, Causes and http://embed.ly/ – are all supported to create your curated content stream.
Searches for keywords or content types on these networks allows you to pick and choose the content that interests you, and publish to a unique URL which can then in turn be shared across social media networks, or in turn, embedded. Other editors can also be invited along for the ride, so you could infact have a collaborative story, reminiscent in many ways of Google Wave – except for social content.
The users whom you’ve referenced in your Storify Stream, can also be notified that they’ve been referenced, which is a good and a bad thing depending on how much adoption the service gets.
For RWR we created the social part of the meta-narrative using Storify.