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Why Things Matter

Why Things Matter

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Published by evanLe

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Published by: evanLe on Apr 29, 2009
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Title:A Manifesto for Networked Objects — Cohabiting with Pi-geons, Arphids and Aibos in the Internet of ThingsShort Title:Why Things Matter
Bruce Sterling. Shaping things. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2005.Donna J. Haraway. The companion species manifesto: dogs, people, and significant other-ness. Prickly Paradigm, University Presses Marketing, Chicago, Ill., 2003.Bruno Latour. We have never been modern. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.,1993.
tag cloud:
spimes, spime, things, thing, lift06, ubiquitous computing, design, object, objects, rfid, ar-phid, arphids, pervasive networks, blogject workshop, near-field communication, nfc, web2.0, world 2.0
Ever since this "blogjects" topic has started circulating, I've been asked lots of things, buttwo questions have come to the fore. First, why would objects want to just blog? Second,why would I care if objects "blog"?
 Julian Bleecker, Ph.D.Research Fellow, Annenberg Center for CommunicationAssistant Professor, Interactive Media DivisionUniversity of Southern California julian [at] techkwondo dot com
Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlikehttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/
The Internet of Things has evolved into a nascent conceptual framework for un-derstanding how physical objects, once networked and imbued with informatic ca- pabilities, will occupy space and occupy themselves in a world in which thingswere once quite passive. This paper describes the Internet of Things as more than a
 Julian Bleecker 1
world of RFID tags and networked sensors. Once “Things” are connected to theInternet, they can only but become enrolled as active, worldly participants by knit-ting together, facilitating and contributing to networks of social exchange and dis-course, and rearranging the rules of occupancy and patterns of mobility within the physical world. “Things”
Internet, will become first-class citizens withwhich we will interact and communicate.Things will have to be taken into account asthey assume the role of socially relevant ac-tors and strong-willed agents that create socialcapital and reconfigure the ways in which welive within and move about physical space.To distinguish the instrumental character of “things” connected to the Internet from“things” participating within the Internet of social networks, I use the neologism “Blogject” — ‘objects that blog.’
What’s a Blogject? What about Spimes?
“Blogject” is a neologism that’s meant to focus attention on the participation of “objects” and “things” in the sphere of networked social discourse variously calledthe blogosphere, or social web. The Blogject is a kind of early ancestor to theSpime, Bruce Sterling’s resonant, single-syllable noun for things that are searcha- ble, track their location, usage histories and discourse with the other things aroundthem. Sterling is an articulate and thoughtful sci-fi design agent and he can comeup with words like “Spime.” I am an engineer and a researcher of near-future tech-nocultures who also makes things and makes things up. I can grok “Spimey”things, and register Sterling’s technology fiction. As an engineer, I can make Blog-
 Julian Bleecker 2
Lantronix™ XPort™ device —
about thesize of your thumb —
will put any ob- ject or thing that produces data, into thenetwork.
 jects now because the semantics are immediately legible — objects, that blog. To-night, I can go into my laboratory and begin to experiment with what a worldmight be like in which I co-occupy space with objects that blog. To make Spimeythings — well, Sterling’s technology fiction will have to explicate itself in the formof his forthcoming treatment, something I eagerly await. I read Sterling’s ShapingThings as a field guide to the technology fiction I imagine he is presently writingabout. Out of that reading came a tiny nugget of insight: if there’s one thing Spi-mes will do, they will most certainly “blog.”
Blogging? Objects?
The distinction between objects that blog, and human agents that blog is impor-tant to flesh out, starting with what bloggers are. "Bloggers" loosely defined, are participants in a network of exchange, disseminating thoughts, opinions, ideas — making culture — through this particular instrument of connections called theInternet. (Bloggers also do so when they meet face-to-face, but we'll avoid that im- portant nuance for the time being.) Bloggers, as a type of social being, do morethan literally blog. They report on what they see, know and think about. They mayuse "blog software" — a paleolithic mechanism for circulating culture — and lotsof other things. Probably most importantly, they have something semanticallyweighty to talk about, whatever their particular idiom of social exchange may be — politics, geek news, gadgets, music, personality fetish, knitting, best practicesfor smoking salmon — what have you.In the same way, Blogjects — objects that blog — don't just literally “blog” inthe routine sense. Although there are good examples of some embryonic Blogjectsthat literally just blog (and don't even do a very good job — they're hardly twoway, don't pay attention to comments — but I guesssome human bloggers don't pay attention to comments, either), blogjects in the near-future will participate inthe whole meaning-making apparatus that is now the social web, and that is be-
 Julian Bleecker 3

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Philip Mathew added this note
Design agents will have to think about how they design work around blogjects to make things more meaningful
Philip Mathew added this note
Networked information and geting information in a meaningful way
Philip Mathew added this note
The persavie networks, of people constantly communicating where they are and the direction they are heading plays an importnat role in education.
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