Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Jonas has a good blog entry in response to Marc's comment about the 12 steps. Interesting and thoughtful deconstruction of obsessive-compulsive disorders and curing and managing addiction. The only place where I would disagree is that I actually do exhibit a variety of symptoms of addiction and that's why I've chosen to stop drinking.

Update: Jonas comments on the 12 steps. I have never been to an AA meeting, although I've ordered the book and intend to try going, but the comments from Jonas are... sobering. Any thoughts from people who swear by the 12 steps?

The Gary Wolf article, "How the Internet Invented Howard Dean" in Wired Magazine that I blogged about earlier just came online. As David Weinberger says, it's a covers the theoretical side of the campaign and is a good addition to Ed Cone's article on the operations and the NY Times Magazine article about the spirit of the campaign.

Merry Christmas everyone. Many years ago, I stopped sending Christmas cards. Last year, I stopped sending out traditional Japanese New Years cards and sent email instead. This year, I'm going to stop sending email greetings as well. I hate to be a scrooge, but firing up my bulk mailer, importing my address book and spewing forth my seasons greetings feels way too much like spam.

Thanks to my birthday script, I have a way to spread greetings to my friends across the whole year instead of having to pack it all into one day. (By the way, if I don't know you, you're not going to get a personal greeting...) So please excuse me if you don't get a electronic greeting card from me for the holidays. As Seth says, I think this is one more treasured tradition that has become roadkill along the information super-highway.

On that note, does anyone know who decided that in Japan, Christmas was the day that you were supposed to go on a date with your honey and end up in a hotel room? Every restaurant has a special Christmas menu tonight for couples and ALL of the hotel will be booked by couples for a romantic evening.

Did you know that Japanese families will be lining up in front of Kentucky Fried Chickens today to get their chicken for Christmas? I DO know where this comes from. When my friend Shin, introduced KFC to Japan, the ad campaign showed wealthy American families all eating friend chicken for their holiday feast. KFC was marketed as an upscale food of the privileged in America. This triggered a tradition in Japan for families to eat friend chicken on Christmas.

(I'm on a roll now...)

And you DO know that in Japan only men receive chocolates on Valentine's Day and that women receive their chocolates on "White Day" one month later. (This notion was introduced by the confectionary industry in Japan.) People are encouraged to give chocolates widely and these chocolates are called giri choko (obligatory indebtedness chocolates) in Japanese.

So, although I'm a sucker for ritual, this is all getting a bit crazy for me. I think I'm going p-time on this whole situation and will give people gifts and greet people spontaneously and in a load-balanced way so I don't get thrown out with the spam.

UPDATE: No room at Japan's Love Hotels at Christmas - BBC
Thanks for the link Khalid

How many people who blog know that many blogs automatically send trackbacks or send pings to pingers sites like How many bloggers know that these pings trigger services like Technorati to include their posts in an index and that any mention of my blog in their private diary cause a link to their diary to show up in my sidebar within minutes? One of the things that some of us forget is that it's not all about attention. Most people want a little more attention than they get, but they usually want it from the right people and only when they feel like it. One of the problems of using the "big time bloggers" to design the technology is that we often forget that many people would rather NOT have their contexts collapsed.

I've recently had the experience of receiving inbound links from people who write very personal diaries. I struggled when trying to decide whether I should comment, link to them or otherwise shed attention on a conversation or monologue that appeared to be directed at someone other than me or my audience. A lot of people will say at this point that posting on the "world wide web" is publishing to the public and information wants to be free, yada yada... I would disagree. The tools are just not good enough yet. Live Journal has a feature that allows you to post entries that only your friends can see. I would love to be able to add special comments interspersed in my blog posts for only my close friends.

I know the point is to keep it as simple as possible, and I can already hear the arguments, but wouldn't it be useful if there was a way to manage your audience better on a blog by blog or a post by post basis? It might also make sense to be a bit more explicit to new bloggers/journalers about what the consequences of pinging/trackbacking is.

I remember a message board where activists were preparing to march in protest against the wiretap law in Japan. This message board showed up in search engine results. A well-meaning policeman dropped into the message board and mentioned that they might want to get a permit. The community was in flames about being "wiretapped". So this isn't a new problem. Just bigger. What technology actually does and what people expect it to do are very different so the "technically speaking" answer is not always the real answer. Also, the tensions caused by the technologies should be viewed as opportunities for the innovators.