Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Old school user generated media ads

A subway mirror with an ad. In Web20-ese that's "Advertising driven user generated media".

Generation Gap
Generation Gap
Today, I experimented with taking pictures of strangers. I'm always impressed by Jim and iMorpheus' photos of strangers and I figured that the best way to get better at it was just to start doing it.

I had been practicing portraits on people I knew and thought that portraits of strangers should be fun. It was definitely harder than I had expected. I had asked a number of people their "secret". Some people asked before shooting, some people people fooled people into thinking that they were shooting something else, others were stealthy. I felt a bit "dirty" taking pictures of people sneakily. On the other hand, I didn't have the guts to go up to people and ask if I could take their picture. Some of the photos turned out OK, but it was a lot of work.

I am still not sure what my ethical position on photographing strangers is. Personally, I don't mind if people take my picture without asking. On the other hand I'm a weirdo. I've read a number of articles an essays about this topic and I still don't have a very good sense of whether it is cool or not to do it. I definitely think it's OK if you ask. My question is whether it is cool to shoot photos of people and post them to Flickr or our blog if they didn't give you permission. As far as I know, in most countries it's legal to do this.

Comme ça Ism
I wrote a post awhile ago about Chuoism. Chiba Newtown Chuo is a designed from scratch community in the middle of nowhere near my house. The town has the feeling of Japanese consumer culture for the masses that someone decided to spin by calling it "Chuoism". I always thought it was a funny word.

On my way home today, I decided to get off of the train at Chiba Newtown and go Ismhunting and try to capture some of the Ismism with my camera. I've posted some of the images in an Ismhunting Flickr set.

I am an ismhunter.

I've been spending a lot of time reading about, thinking about, and practicing my meditation. If I have time, I can spend hours just sitting there. I'm enjoying solitude more than I've ever enjoyed it before. In fact, I've never enjoyed solitude. Not only did I enjoy the company of other people, I craved and needed it. I have observed that a lot of active CEO types have a similar kind of obsession that allows them to invest more than average amounts of energy into communities including their companies and their partners - afraid to spend a minute of their waking time not interacting with other people. I think this obsession with trying not to be lonely has also fueled a lot of my interest in social software and online games.

So, while I don't know how long this interest in meditation and solitude will last, for the moment it looks like my "loneliness problem" is not a problem. In fact, for the moment, I'm perfectly happy being alone.

I wonder what this means? I wonder if I'll plop out of sight like some puppet that lost it's puppeteer...

Probably not, but it is something that I was thinking about today as I considered how much I enjoyed the 1.5 hour train ride into the city today from my home in Chiba... I suppose the fact that I'm blogging this shows that I'm not really "cured" of my obsession with the social...

Looks like a bunch of people are trying out Jaiku after "tasting" co-presence with Twitter. To me, Jaiku, which existed before Twitter, is a bunch of Helsinki mobile jocks getting into the Web 2.0 of it all whereas Twitter is the Web 2.0 crowd "getting" co-presence.

Twitter was funny for me because it was like the whole "laptop crowd" getting the "aha" that Europe and Asia had with SMS awhile back - the idea that the Internet isn't about "cyberspace" that turns on when you open your laptop, but that the Internet was something that you could carry around with you and that could ping you when it needed you.

Jaiku was neat because it was everything we had all been telling Nokia that we wanted in mobile devices, but that Nokia never seemed to deliver for us. It took a small group of mobile geeks who also got the Web to build an integrated experience.

I've been helping the Jaiku guys out a bit as an advisor and I'm also a friend of Ev's. Interesting to see this convergence of from two completely different worlds of mine (mobile and web) with the attention of the "Twittersphere" tuned in. FWIW, I don't think that either is a knockoff of the other, but I do think that they are now influencing each other. It reminds me a bit of blog software in the early days...

Having said that, there are a number of differences despite the similarities on the surface. Jaiku comes from a "presence" background allowing bluetooth proximity, phone idle time, ringer mode and other things to trigger state changes - the messaging came later. Twitter, on the other hand, is primarily messaging, which as we all know, is just a flexible and manual vector for presence information.