Defrag Blog

A Call for Ideas and Language

by Eric Norlin on Feb.15, 2008, under conference topics

From the very first days of Defrag (you know, back in the early mists of time - like 2007), it seems that we’ve always struggled to really effectively name what exactly we were talking about. In fact, I prefer it that way, as I think that the “defrag problem set” is big enough that trying to close it in too much really limits the impact of where we can go and what we can accomplish together.

That said, I still think that “languaging” (is that a word?) what we’re talking about is extremely useful, as it helps the defrag community that gathers push the topic forward. Part of what any good gathering like Defrag should do is bring together disparate parties that don’t see themselves as working on the same thing, and help them to reframe the problems into a larger, common set.

All of that is a bit of a prelude to where I’m at now - throwing words, ideas and concepts on to pages and into conversations, as we begin to move toward the large sweeps of content and themes for this year’s conference. Accordingly, I’m writing things like this:

“As online data is growing and fragmenting at an exponential pace, individuals, groups and organizations are struggling to discover, assemble, organize, act on and gather feedback from that data. The “problem” of re-arranging how we deal with data, so that the organization, discovery, usefulness and intelligence of it becomes an *implicit* act is one of the truly great problems facing technologists (in both an enterprise and user-facing sense). In the largest sense, we’re all looking to build and use tools that help us to accelerate and augment the pace at which we achieve insights on raw data.”

And then, thinking (and writing) that the intersection of that big idea is somewhere between topics like:

“Enterprise 2.0″

Online Collaboration

The Implicit Web

Semantic Tools

Collective Intelligence

Social software (networks)

…ie, put those topics around the edge of a circle and the blank-shared space is where Defrag lies.

Enough context - the bottom line is that Defrag won’t be doing a “call for papers,” that’s just an impersonal way of operating, and we’re nothing if not personable. Instead, though, I’d love to hear from all of you about ideas and language. I’m beginning to think I know what we should be talking about, and I’m gathering a list of topics (and people), but I’d love to see a deluge of thoughts coming from past and future Defrag folk as well.

The gates are wide open. Fire away (enorlin AT

3 comments for this entry:
  1. Scott Yates

    remember that episode of Star Trek Next Generation when the Enterprise developed its own new form of intelligent life? It looked like some multi color-tubes that ended up floating away.

    I think what you want to describe is something like that where the data creates its own usefulness because of all the thought that has gone into its creation.

    The problem is that this leads to names that have already had all the life sucked out of them. Eg. Intelligent Data, etc.

    I’ll keep thinking.

  2. Scott Yates

    I went and found the episode, called Emergence.

    With all due fear of sounding like a total geek, I think this could be a new name for what you and Brad are looking for, something like “Emergent Data” or “Self-Emerging Data” or even “The Emerging Web.”

    If you decide to use that, I recommend against mentioning the Star Trek reference ;-)

  3. Richard Dale

    I recently blogged on this topic and defined the following notions:
    Lifestyle 1.0: The Network is the Computer (thanks, Sun)
    Lifestyle 2.0: Where do you want to go today (thanks, MS)
    Lifestyle 3.0: I am the center of the internet or “I’m so vain, I probably think the internet is about me”
    It’s all on the VentureCyclist blog (link to website).

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