Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sceneing. What I really do (for a living)

Blogging is relatively new for me.  My friend Cheryl McKinnon told me months ago I had to have a blog, and I listened.  In recent months, you've seen almost nothing here that reflects what I do for a living.  Civil Rights talk, yes, Web 2.0 software development - hardly anything.

I made the connection between what am doing and my deep personal conviction to civil society while reading open source guru Ben Werdemuller (why do I like that surname?). He wrote in his blog entry Blowing up markets a few weeks ago that:

It all comes down to one simple rule: People want to be free.

The Internet is opinionated: as a medium, it inherently works to empower people and eliminate hierarchies in society. It shouldn't be a surprise that the most popular Internet companies hail from California; their philosophies are direct descendents of the civil rights activism that took place there in the sixties and seventies. In many cases, it’s even the same people. (Or – and here I put up my hand as the son of Berkeley “radicals” – their children.)

Since October of 2009, Neil LaChapelle and I at DANE Partners have been passionate about a new Web 2.0 software platform Neil conceived, which would enable people to live more meaningful lives and to leave a legacy. We have been designing software that employs an emerging web paradigm, which was without a name until we identified it and named it. We call it: "Sceneing". In the mobile and PC browser world our platform idea becomes The Sceneverse. OK, might sound a little hokey. I'll forgive you for thinking that.

We continue to grow our collaborator network looking for people who share our vision of a web that enables the full expression of the real human metaverse, and who have the wisdom and skill to help us build it.

Let me explain. I will start with a description of building a personal family scene. You upload securely and privately into the Sceneverse the story of your life bit by bit:
  • placing events at the location they occurred
  • at the date and time they happened
  • tag them with a theme (my childhood, my days in the army, my days in the circus),  
  • connect them with other people who shared the experience with you (or not)

You might link a photo, video, just text, or all of these to help describe an event in your personal life scene. You might invite one or several people who participated in this event to have access to this recollection, to a chapter of your life, or to your whole personal life scene. Or grant them read-only access to a chapter of your life, but never to this particular scene. If you allow it, they could add their comments or photos etc to your description of the event. And only if you allowed it, they could invite others to see what together or you alone you had created there. Personally, I imagine my daughter when she is much older and I am gone, perusing the scene of my life. I might edit out a few embarrassing events. :)

Much of what we need to make this possible is already available on the web. Mostly what we will do is to bring together existing applications in a new way to enable this new kind of activity, sceneing. Really, it is as old as time. It's just that, until now, the stories of our personal lives have generally disappeared like smoke with the passage of time. We would need to charge people for storage who uploaded massive amounts of information into their personal scenes.

Using an Augmented Reality ("AR") view of my personal scene in the Sceneverse, my daughter could actually walk through Vancouver, Yellowknife, London, Kitchener and Waterloo reading, seeing and hearing what I and those closest have left about the story of my life in these places. I'd sure love to be able to do this myself in Cologne, Glasgow and across the Canadian Arctic, where my father spent his childhood and then his adult life - even connecting with his old friends, or their descendants (handed the digital keys to the Scene of their lives).

If I were a Lifecaster, I might make my whole life story accessible for anyone interested. (I don't happen to be one of these.) I would hope that others would choose this option - it would be so interesting for example to be able to trace Hemmingway's record of the scenes of his life Paris and Havana, or perhaps the life of a heretofore unknown person who survived the Holocaust and then built a life with many descendants in Toronto.

You might see why we are excited about this.  We make sense of our lives by telling our story. In some ways, this story is our primary legacy to future generations.

Before we came upon the potential for sceneing to express and extend a person's own life story to their family and closest friends, we thought about cultural scenes. These and other kinds of scenes will be the subject of my next blog post.


Anonymous said...

Keep blogging ... great insights David!

liz said...

read about thing struck about people would then become more responsable beings and accountable souls...when we know we leave traces, we tend to walk better...Great blogging David, thank you!