Everyone has has been telling me about Jon Udell – and how cool he is. Well, today I came across his amazing weblog:
A couple of days ago my sister cc'd me on the ACLU Pizza movie — a digital identity nightmare done as a Flash animation. “Very interesting,” she wrote to her friends, “and probably not too far from the truth.” I'd seen this movie a while back, so I pondered for a moment about the ongoing effect it might be having and then moved on. Then today it came back to me, via Phil Windley, via Kim Cameron, via Future Salon. I wondered how this particular meme has been flowing through the collective mind. So I took a picture of that:
The chart measures the number of citations per day on del.icio.us and bloglines, omitting the (majority of) days on which there were none. I'm curious to see what the new spike will look like.
More generally, I'm interested in how visualization of memeflow will affect memeflow. From the ACLU's perspective, charts like this will doubtless become part of the dashboard used to measure the performance of campaigns — if they aren't already. But the memeflow data will also matter to folks like Kim Cameron, who is Microsoft's identity architect. He writes:
This is a battering ram for knocking over any system embodying disrespect for identity's laws. That might prompt some to just take it “as propaganda”. But anyone who did that would be missing the point. Micah's piece is a harbinger of what is to come should we, technologists, not succeed in understanding our own subject matter. [Kim Cameron]
Exactly. But going forward, it won't be enough to simply possess that understanding. The would-be architects of our digital identity future will also have to communicate their understanding in compelling ways.
Jon is right. Memeflow data will matter to folks like Kim Cameron. Wow. I'm just trying to get my head around this.
In terms of Jon's comment about communication, I'll go a little further than he does.
A couple of days ago Jamie Lewis had me rolling with this parenthetical comment – executed with unassailable “en passant” perfection:
Kim sums this up in a breathless reply to Doc Searls and others in his introduction to the fifth law (its a long sentence, and you may need to open a window after parsing it)
So funny and so true. After all, as a technology architect I spend a lot of my day in an internal conversation where there aren't even words yet. And sometimes this shows.
That's why to do something like a unifying identity system that is respectful of the people who use it, we need not just architects, but a whole bunch of creative thinkers with a wide range of talents – especially communication – people like Jon Udell. To pick up Marc Canter's term (he seems to come out with some good ones), we need a lot of talented people riding the identity “avalanche”.