Mapping The Flow Of Information


FLICKR / PHITAR / GATE TO UPPER MUSTANG, VIEW FROM KAGBENI

In blogging off and on over the years, I would have to say that the one thing that I have still not been able to achieve is a good structure for my blog (compared to standard product sites which have always seemed easy for me to structure). With a good site structure everything just falls into place and seems well connected. With a bad site structure everything seems disconnected and out of place. That disconnection is my greatest problem that I would like to overcome because without that structure I feel like I’m travelling down a river without a map to guide me.

One reason I have stopped blogging repeatedly in the past (but then started up again) is because I have yet to find a good structure that can sustain me. As I’ve indicated before, I dislike the standard layout and structure of weblogs (i.e. content in the middle with a sidebar holding the latest posts, archives, and categories on the side) because of the lack of reference it gives to the content on the entire site. In effect, when you visit most blogs, all you see is the content they are talking about right now (i.e. the last 5 or 10 posts). Well, often that is quite inadequate because it doesn’t capture the entire persons thoughts and interests. Therefore, what I’m looking for is some way to show my current thoughts visually connected to my overall interests and goals.

The best example I can give again is using my river vision whereby the river is your flow of thoughts or conversations about something in particular. Well with the default setup of blogs, when you visit someone’s site all you see is a closeup of them on one point in the river. That’s it. It doesn’t give a reference as to where that person has been on the river or where they are headed. What I would like to see is that closeup still exist for the person, showing what they are involved with now on the “river” but I’d also like to see a sidemap that shows there previous journey path and their destination (or goal) of where they are headed.

Now what complicates things even more is that each river that a person travels upon is really a collection of different thought streams. Each stream may focus on a different subject but they all form together to create the encompassing river. Looking at my history, I was fascinated with fantasy stories and artwork as a kid. This interest and imagination exploded with the introduction of the personal computer which allowed me to enter these imaginary worlds and interact within them. With the advances in computing, this exploration moved online to allow exploring and interaction with other people with me eventually starting to explore communities and their cultures not only in gaming but on the Web itself (utilizing web development to do this). Over time, I found the boundaries of gaming to be limiting to my interest in culture and I started looking at how culture affects the entire world, especially with regards to how the Web itself is changing our culture. This has now pushed me to seeing how we can utilize the Web to help connect communities and to foster a better culture within them to make the entire world a better place.

Now what I’ve just explained above is many separate streams of interests such as fantasy, artwork, computers, technology, gaming, communities, culture, the Web, and finally the world. And yet what I’ve also done is show how each separate stream of thought is actually connected to one another and supports my overall interest in trying to better the world through culture and community (with the help of technology). That is exactly the same thing I would like to achieve within my site with regards to my structure. I want to not only be able to see where I’m going and where I’ve been with each separate stream of thoughts but also where I’ve been and where I’m going with the entire collection of thoughts (forming the river that I flow within). Showing the relationship and reference of my thoughts to one another and creating that structure to support them is what I am currently trying to achieve. Without that structure right now though, I feel like I’m lost on a river, not knowing where I’ve been and where I’m going.