Type vs Subject

Hmm, I’m already stumped. I thought categorizing my entries would be easy to do to create separate "streams" but it isn’t. Why? Because I’m finding that everything is connected in my entries. For example, I could be talking about playing the World of Warcraft. So you might think that’s easy, just categorize the subject of the entry as "Gaming" or something like that. But it’s not that easy, because often times my inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places. For example, when I’m playing online, I’m continually thinking about communities and the cultures within them. Therefore, do I add those categories as well thus making it now "Gaming", "Communities", and "Culture"? As I said before a while back in a previous post, the more categories I add the more absurd things seem to get, so I’d rather not have "subject" categories at all.

If anything though, I find it easier instead to categories things by type. For example, categorizing entries as "Books", "Movies", or "Music" is really straightforward, since if you click on that category you’ll see a listing of the books I have read. Yet if I do this, then what do I call my regular entries that aren’t books, music, or movies? Do I just categorize them as just "Blog" entries? Seems weird, yet at the same time how do I separate my content in these "streams"? Or should I really be worried about this? Yet if all of my content is merged together, I find this a detriment because it makes it more difficult for people to follow a specific "aspect" or "facet" of my life. Instead they have to see everything I talk about (although they have the choice to read it or not).

Again is this a bad thing though? Hehe, for some reason the song "All of Me" by Frank Sinatra is playing in my head now.

"All of me
Why not take all of me"

7 thoughts on “Type vs Subject

  1. Good to see you writing something. 🙂 More than I seem to be doing lately…

    Interesting topic. One that always manages to tickle my fancy.

    Personally I gave up on structured categories aka taxonomy and typing content long ago. I still rel-tag for search purposes though. I do see benefits with this, for myself and the larger community in the form of forming relationships.

    Rarely does categorising add any meaningful information to content in a way that it affords something new be created, it’s nearly always very general and its not easy creating anything new without basic building blocks. I always struggled with categories on my first blog, felt freed when I started tagging. Used neither for navigation purposes much until I learnt of the benefits a useful dictionary and/or ajax can bring to the table.

    Folksonomies have the big advantage of connecting me to others through the aggregators. Not only that but when I’m disciplined, I can create a useful dictionary to expediate the recall of specific knowledge. I do this on my tech blog thought flat neverending categories (not ideal) but find it useful. I don’t do it on my depression blog much, but the option is there and I find that important especially in voicing my opinion at large.

    The seperation I make between my spaces is as personas. As in semi-private spaces. Currently that means the tech craig, depression craig and other aspects of my personality I might feel like exploring outside of those. In a way they’re seperate exploratory quiet spaces, retreats for reflection, yet open rooms if you know where to look. I’d like to create more, yet the tools don’t easily allow me. I’d like private rooms aswell.

    Ideally I want a single interface in which I create the content for all of these spaces. A river of news, history, whatever you prefer to call it. The rest is then done for presentation and people (me/my audience/my ego).

    I’m wanting to take things a step further with what the Semantic Web people call triples. Every resource having a subject, predicate and object. Anything can be described this way. A photo, a piece of text in a page. Triples can then be combined through an onotology describing relationships between resources.
    It’s these reationships that I feel matter most. They’re the building blocks. Whether its to find like-minded people(FOAF) or alike datasets(tagging) of link-minded people. When you have relations you can build meaningful connections through creating new relationships.

    My only suggestion right now, with the tools as they are, would be you plug yourself in to community dictionaries through tagging until something better comes along. 🙂

    Right now community dictionarys like pointing to technorati with a rel-tag works as a general public dictionary, but it can be noisy on some subjects. I see the need for niche dictionaries on top of this and an easy way to add relations to them. Right down to the resource level.

    I hope I’m making sense. I have a habit of defining the meaning for words in a way only I understand them. 🙂 I should keep a dictionary for that…

    Keep blogging, always an interesting read when you do.

  2. > Rarely does categorising add any meaningful information to content in a way that it affords something new be created, it’s nearly always very general and its not easy creating anything new without basic building blocks. <

    You’re right. The more categories you add, the less meaningful they become. Even more so, most services like Technorati can find the keywords in your content (i.e. Web 2.0) without even having to tag your content yourself.

    However, there is one reason why I would categorize my content but it has nothing to do with "tagging" as most people think of it (in terms of helping people to find your content via search engines). Instead it relates to groups of people who want to actively collaborate with one another. Before I give an example of this, let me explain one other important thing I just realized the other day.

    Diversity is extremely important to me. I know this goes against everything most professional bloggers tell you (i.e. have a very narrow focused content niche) but I just realized why this is so important to me and it fits in with some advice that Wil Wheaton once received long ago (which is where I found the saying).

    "Don’t let your work become your life, because when work isn’t happening, then what do you have?"

    In effect, if all I did was focus on my research and things weren’t going well with it (since it always seems to go in cycles going up and down), then what do I have? Nothing. Pretty depressing right? Therefore the key is to ensuring your interests and life are very diverse, thus when one thing isn’t going so well, you can always rely upon another interest to keep you going.

    That’s one reason why I’m going to try to include more variety of content in my posts from now on which is why my two latest posts are on a movie review and product review of the running shoes I bought. Yes, they have nothing to do with my research but I’m still "sharing" information and someone might find it useful.

    Even more importantly though, this additional information helps to give people a better understanding of who I am as a person. My life is not just my work. I do not just talk about it 24/7 which it may seem like that from my site. I have a variety of other interests that have defined my identity through the years and made me who I am. I want to start relaying these other interests, no matter how insignificant they may appear to some people, because again they give people a clearer picture of who I am as a whole.

    Hopefully you can see now why having some form of filtered "content streams" is important though on a site with a diverse variety of content. For example, each of us seem to have similar interests in our research but varying approaches to achieving the end result. Thus while we may not be able to actively collaborate with one another because we’d be disagreeing with our approaches, we could still actively share our information so that we can learn from one another. That’s how I would "tag" my entries. Not with a global keyword that helps people search and find my entries (which is already done by Technorati) but instead by using a local keyword that relates to a very specific topic or train of thought that is probably only meaningful to the both of us. Therefore when I tag something, it is more from a meaningful local approach than a more generalized global approach.

    > I’d like private rooms aswell. <

    I would as well but I realized that these don’t fit well in with my site, since my site isn’t a space so much as me, the person. In effect, this site is my conversations in many different spaces. Thus in one post I may talk professionally about work related things but in other post, I may talk about very personal things on a more intimate level.

    > Ideally I want a single interface in which I create the content for all of these spaces. <

    I used to the think the same thing but now I’m not so sure. For example, back when I used to do a lot of computer gaming, I was interested in different games and thus interacted within different communities. I had no problem going to different sites (or spaces) to interact with that particular community because actually going to that space made it feel like I was actaully interacting within this environment, even if only virtually. Yes, you could do all of your responses in one location but in doing so do you lose that sense of "space" in the process? I’m still not sure, as I’d have to fully test such an environment out to be sure.

    Here’s a quick example of what I mean though. If I’m commenting and interacting on other sites that represent a person (i.e. Dave Winer, David Weinberger, etc) then I have no problem working in one location, providing responses, because it’s almost like you are emailing each other and having an ongoing conversation. However, if I’m commenting on a site related to a particular computer game (i.e. World of Warcraft), then I want to be IN that environment or space. In effect, that site doesn’t represent a single person but instead represents a community of people. Therefore, it is almost like a virtual environment that you can walk within and having varying conversations within different internal spaces within the larger community space.

    > I’m wanting to take things a step further with what the Semantic Web people call triples. <

    Haven’t read too much about this but I just listened to a podcast interview with Tim Berners-Lee the other day when he talked about using RDF’s. Still not sure about the implementation but the end result (i.e. one link definition creating links both ways) sounds very interesting.

    > I hope I’m making sense. I have a habit of defining the meaning for words in a way only I understand them. 🙂 <

    Hehe, same here! I know people who have read my entries on my research and have said it made no sense to them at all. I think the problem is that both of us are actually living and thinking in the future. We have insights into things that we intuitively feel make sense, yet we don’t have the words yet to describe them. It’s like a native seeing an airplane for the first time and understanding what it does but how the hell does he described it to the other natives back at the village without sounding like a raving lunatic? 🙂

  3. Oh, I’m assuming you’ve heard of Cocomment though right? It’s not everything you want of course but it does let you handle all of your conversations in one area though.

    http://www.cocomment.com/

    Haven’t tried it myself, as I my online conversations aren’t that active lately, and I therefore usually don’t have more than a handful of conversations to keep track of.

  4. Firstly I have heard of co.comment, played briefly when it went public, haven’t used it since. I’m too lazy to click a button in my toolbar or however it was done(my memory selectively forgets these things). I have a delicious icon I never use for the same reason. Lag, connection reliability, thus I’ve given up on those(will build my own reliable version soon). If they were done with caching locally and synchronised when the connection worked (all in the background) I’d use them like I’d be using a lot more web apps.

    BTW, my brother sharing the same connection and p2p sharing(with buggy soulseek) is the cause of 99% of my connection grief.

    With regard to your points, I actually agree with all of them and probably should have extrapolated better on some of mine.

    >However, there is one reason why I would categorize my content but it has nothing to do with "tagging" as most people think of it (in terms of helping people to find your content via search engines)."<

    I tag to add additional related keywords to my content (for the technorati/google keyword searchers, myself included) but only when I don’t want to messy content. Otherwise to tag in a way that affords collaboration with others (link relations).

    This is why on my depression blog I don’t add tags or keywords often anymore. I’m not wanting to talk or collaborate or make it easier for others to find me there right now.

    >"Don’t let your work become your life, because when work isn’t happening, then what do you have?"<

    A good reason to have somewhere you can explore as many facets of your existance as you can and why I’m trying(the learning is slow) to build a good tool for myself online while doing other things offline. I see the online tool helping to facilitate both. I’m actually enjoying learning about different languages would you believe. Be it they are programming languages… however I can now see how understanding many different languages of all types can aide in my own diversity.

    As for what I said here:
    > Ideally I want a single interface in which I create the content for all of these spaces. <

    What I mean by a single interface is one to add and manage all my content. Eg. an Atom Publishing Protocol Client managing my collections (blogs, galleries, etc). But in addition the ability to add and manage through individual services for the experience you talked about. Like comments on a blog. What i’m talking about is aggregating all the content I create(like this comment) to a history store I can use to track myself and my relations(your reply comments). My attention data. It’s the best of both worlds but the important thing for me is having a central place I can go to for all my content management, rather than individual ones, eg. multiple blogs, like I do now if I want to post to a specific (persona) blog. I can kinda do it now with blog publishing tools that allow multiple blogs, but they’re all awkward for me.

    With regard to RDF, I’m getting aboard that train. It’s real power will come with embedding meaningful relations into content and making that searchable. What I’m eventually envisioning happening(and I’m designing) is a user interface whereby you can select any piece of information (resource), on any page, and add relationships to it. For example; I could be writing about you on my blog, I select your name and add a relation using an existing dictionary for defining friendships or create my own dictionary. existing eg. Friend Of A Friend(FOAF)
    A triple might be

    subject: <depressionisms.com/tblog>
    predicate: foaf:knows
    object: "nollind.whachell.com"

    And would be embedded in the page with RDFa or microformats etc. Web services through SPARQL (an RDF query language) or search engines like pingerati or semanticweb search could then use that info as they please.

    All sorts of meaningful relationships can be done this way. Any resource can be described though relationships. And if that data is freely available inside web pages, anyone can use it in all sorts of ways(they can now with services like feed43 or dapper but embedded RDF makes it easier). If your interested read about RDFa, (its microformats done the XML way) and read about OWL, The onotology web language.

    Another interesting web navigational technology is <a href="http://hyperscope.org">hyperscope.</a&gt; Search for the screencasts! They’re awesome.

    Looking further afield, you can read about what the HTTP boffin who coined the term ReST is cooking up next with the WAKA protocol. GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, DIFF? PATCH?
    I’m looking forward to the wikiwakaweb and it’s what I’m building towards. I have a picture thats pretty clear now after all my research.

    p.s. Your new joggers made me think about my own jogging (which I took up again recently) and how out jogging recently I(and my knees) wished I had your new shoes. 🙂

  5. > What I mean by a single interface is one to add and manage all my content <

    Sounds like you want an Uber blog client, since they already let you post content to multiple sites from one location but they don’t allow you to maintain multiple comment conversations with it.

    > What i’m talking about is aggregating all the content I create(like this comment) to a history store I can use to track myself and my relations(your reply comments). <

    I’m planning on adding my comments that I’ve posted on other sites on my site here itself. I did this a while back and I liked it plus all of my site visitors could see all of my conversations in one place without having to jump around the Web to read them. I agree that this would be nice if it could be automated though. Trackbacks allow you to do this to a degree but I mean actually commenting on the other site (since I’ve seen trackbacks appear on sites sometimes as only a link).

    > With regard to RDF, I’m getting aboard that train. <

    However it’s done it has to be simple from a user’s point of view though (i.e. easy to add in a WYSIWYG interface like adding a link is). I guess I mean it has to make sense in a very easily understandable way.

    > wished I had your new shoes <

    They’re pretty good. Like I said though, I tried at least five or six pairs on and compared them alot. It’s funny though. When I go out for a run, especially when I’m starting off, if I run in a straight line my knees feel weak too. However, if I start running all over the place (i.e. zig zagging, up and down off logs, etc), my knees feel more stable and solid. Not sure why.

  6. > In a way they’re seperate exploratory quiet spaces, retreats for reflection, yet open rooms if you know where to look. <

    Hmm, I think something just "clicked" today with regards to how I can structure a variety of different sites as these spaces with which I can interact with others about the things I’m interested in. Of course, this means AGAIN I’ll be changing the focus of my personal site. 🙂

  7. Can’t stop for long today, little busy and my arm is flinching(long bizarre story) but had to mention the recent comments addition to your sidebar is a useful one. 🙂 (i’d searched for a comment feed previously on your site BTW…)

    Your mention there also in regard to posting comments onto your own site had me thinking about creating a personal differential page/comment aggregator for pages I track and comment on. Keeping me updated on certain pages in a river of news fashion. This being an extension of how Dave Winer uses his river of news. I want my email alerts in my river, my comment replies, in my river, my calender alerts, in my river. I prefer to think of it as my "event horizon" in that events I’m interested in show at the horizon(top of the list) as they happen. Some types given priority(meme’s), and made sticky(todos/friend emails). With filters allowing me to filter by type/view to read in a rives of news fashion and allow me to click on items creating task based actions. eg. open in my email to reply or blog this (i’m actually thinking of integrating these actions into the event horizon river reader) Additionally I’m looking to integrate this with an identity system. So users will receive alerts in their event horizon for all sorts of information. From missed phone calls, to approving email addresses as trusted to prevent spam, to approving purchases of goods or to giving sites access to certain personal information through link contracts.

    So I’m working towards being able to track all my online interaction through a single event horizon. In this space comments are one area that have been a real pain for me, even with systems like co.comments. I’m going to try it out again and see if its useful now as I did hear there were changes a while back to improve it. But if it’s not up to scratch, I have some ideas for automatically tracking forms I fill out and aggregating page differentials to a feed to keep myself up-to-date.

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