Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.
I think unless you're a student who's always out and about or a mover and shaker like Joi there's not a whole hell of a lot to moblogging. It's more of an instant online scrapbook than a real communications medium. With blogging there's that level of interactivity which makes it very interesting. I read blogs, I copy permalinks, I write my posts and post links, and I check my referrers for people who linked to me. With moblogging, I take a picture, send off an email and then I'm done. There's nothing else to do - no interaction. Photos don't link. And browsing the web from a 2" x 3" screen is difficult at best. [..] However there's a kernal of an idea there. I don't think it's the equivalent of weblogging, so maybe moblogging isn't the right name for it. But that power of instant communication from your always-on connected wireless device is incredible. Truly "smart mob" stuff. There's going to be a killer app for these devices soon along these lines, we just need to find what it is. I have my doubts whether moblogging - as a mobile version of weblogging - is it.
I guess I would disagree a bit. Moblogging is still in its infancy. (Although Steve Mann has been doing stuff with mobile camera on the web for a long time...)

I think the cameras and the other attributes of the device will get better. Imagine the Sidekick with a built in camera and a color screen. The new Sharp phone has a full VGA color screen! Foma mobile video phones do 384K. So, the dinky sreen, gritty image, thing will be fixed soon.

Although the conversation style of moblogging will probably be different than weblogging, I think you have other ways to thread things.

For example, if you leave messages and images in locations for people. For instance, if you go to a restaurant, you can push a button and it pulls up all of the interesting things people have written while they were there and threads you to other places those people have been. If you're going to a place, you search for people who have moblogged from that location, finding links to their images and maybe their weblogs. In an "augmented reality" (see my brother-in-law Scott Fisher's work on this. He's actually done a system of using mobile phones to annotate space with content.) sort of way, it's like annotating the real world. That's how I look at it. I'm this little thing crawling around the earth, annotating it with images, sounds and text. You leverage being mobile by being able to add location. This database can be viewed by time/location/ID and we can create meta information from that. (Yes, there are security/privacy issues.)


I'm a newbie to the blogging culture, but i was particularly struck by this comment:

For example, if you leave messages and images in locations for people. For instance, if you go to a restaurant, you can push a button and it pulls up all of the interesting things people have written while they were there and threads you to other places those people have been.

I myself have been brainstorming this idea for a while now, with slightly more commercial applications. I think the idea of location-specific data needs a slight paradigm shift -- from the more centralized system (like surfing Yahoo! for info), to having something like an "Information Access Point" by, say, the door of each commercial enterprise. I offer a few scenerios of how this might work:

Scenario 1:
You are a tourist in a large metropolitan area (perhaps Manhattan). It is now almost dinner time, and you have spent the day viewing exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art. You would like to eat somewhere within walking distance, but are not familiar with the local restaurants. You do, however, have your trusty PDA (a Clie, perhaps). You walk by a restaurant that looks interesting, and place your PDA within RFID range of a device labeled as the store’s Information Access Point by the door. On your PDA shows up the restaurant’s menu, general information (hours, location), other franchises both local and international, a listing of special events, and a list of reviews by recent customers. Finding that a franchise closer to your hotel has better service, you decide to return and dine at that one.

Scenario 2:
You decide it’s time to replace an old pair of sneakers, but the economy has not been doing so well and you want to be frugal about your purchase. Finding a shoe store in a local neighborhood, you ‘link’ your PDA with the store’s RFID device. Much to your luck, the shop is having a promotional sale, and a special coupon appears on your PDA naming you the 100th customer of the day. By showing your coupon, you are entitled to 50% off whatever you choose to purchase.

At first glance, these scenarios are not all that complicated. They give users a simple convenience in their daily lives. But the benefits are compounded by extended use and a large network of users. With continued use, a database of stores, locations, eating habits, shopping habits – countless information – can be accumulated and customized to benefit the individual. For the commercial enterprise, these information access points create windows of opportunity to streamline business – quickly calculating how many of what was purchased by which demographics – and create new avenues of promotion.

Because each individual would be in control of the data that is on their PDA, certain issues pertaining to security and information control would be resolved.

As a startup idea, there are some major hurdles to overcome, not the least of which would be getting the distribution of these "IAPs" to each outfit.

I don't for thought, i suppose

Coming into this late, I realize... having just read Adam Greenfield's essay on the same, I see further possibilities...

I see no need for "IAPs" to be distributed to each outfit; you could have very low-cost ID stickers which could be read variously by RFID, camera phone, or even manual entry of a alphanumeric code. The user would read or input the tag into her mobile device, which gets you the information on the place, reviews, and links to other users.
You could even get these stickers posted on street corners, park benches, train stations and other places, for next to nothing.

1. A number of companies already have very detailed, searchable databases of restaurants and hotels, and in markets like Japan, they are accessible by mobile phone. The idea above could expand the concept by introducing creativity and user interaction into those hitherto 'one-way' sites.

2. Multiple and overlapping communities could be created by sharing a common place-tag system. Thus, the same place-tag sticker on a lamppost could be access points to "great coffee across the street" or "bad spot for fireworks-viewing" or "i wait for the bus every morning here. email me to chat" depending on in what context the tag is accessed.

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