The Mine! Project

open source project for online data and relationships logistics

What Mine! is not

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The key to getting people understand Mine! is its relevance to them. Though sometimes it helps to say what Mine! is not.

  • Mine! is NOT a Blog or Blogging Tool
  • Mine! is NOT a Personal Data Store
  • Mine! is NOT a Social Networking Tool
  • Mine! is NOT a Photo Gallery etc

Blog is a publishing platform, one-to-many and although Mine! uses blog-based technologies, it is information management platform, for user’s own benefit and with controlled sharing.

Mine! stores more than mere “personal data”, it stores anything. It can contain and manage static and dynamic data, related to the person by the virtue of being in Mine!. On top of that, Mine! enables tagging, analysing, poking, prodding, collating and mashing up data not just “storage”. And it enables sharing via feeds that can be individual generated and targeted.

Mine! is not a social network a la Facebook, MySpace etc etc. It is meant for individual deployment and use. In some sense it is “antisocial’ software – no walls to write on, zombies to poke, vampires to throw. It is designed to bring control to information sharing.

That said, Mine! can provide valuable functionality for e.g. OpenSocial, federated micro-blogging, friends-lists, contacts, FoaF etc. All in addition to what Mine is designed for and enabled because the user has new capability.

Mine! is not a photo gallery, nor is Mine just a wine-lover’s tool or traveller’s companion,
but these examples will be used often when explaining what Mine! can do for users.

Finally, what does the Mine! give you:

  • a home for storing your data
  • a platform for poking your data
  • a means to share your data
  • in, for, and to establish relationships with others, so you are the definitive source of information about you and have absolute control & revocation of access

From my previous writings about Mine!

Store implies passive and static, with some distribution via feeds, whereas one of the major elements of the Mine! is equipping individuals with analytical and other tools to help them understand themselves better and give them an online spring board to relationships with others (in VRM context this includes vendors).

The personal data store implies that there is no other reason to be using it other than to slave yourself to someone’s CRM system [...] it treats people’s Mines! like a back-end to vendors’ CRM systems. It does not capture using the Mine! to manage relationships [...] the customer being in control of their own data.

… The purpose of the Mine! is not only to put the individual in the centre and align the vendors around him. That is a far more gargantuan effort than what the Mine! is designed to do as the vendors have very little motivation to do that in ways that are useful to the individual. The idea behind the Mine! is to give the individual ability to become the authoritative source of information about him by handling the living breathing data as they go about their life. Taking just the feeds and not groking the autonomous space for my data is like looking at a vast landscape through a key hole, not bothering to open the door.

So once more, with feeling – the feeds and the Mine! feed technology are a subset of the Mine!, which has been conceived as an alternative way to provide data logistics for the individual on the web, one with a higher degree of autonomy and control over one’s preferences that is possible now. It originates from the social web, not from the identity space or any other area. It is a platform for the individual, with the aim to shift the balance of power between individual and platoform (or customers and vendors or other types of locked see-saw). It aspires to be an infrastructure for other solutions but it is not and should not be defined in terms of any of those solutions – identity, VRM, authentication, data portability and hopefully many more.

Streams

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This resonates:

So when you think of digital presence – the online shadow of your physical/spiritual presence – how would you best want to represent that? The emergence of streams in our digital lives is, in many ways, aligning our thinking in a way that we are only subtly appreciating. I see this every time I overhear someone trying to explain Twitter to another. There’s futility in writing straplines and elevator pitches for something that is quite fundamental to the way we experience life.

Greg of Social Twisters then talks of finding the best web services that helps up build and run our own real-time personas online.


* Who – Facebook? LinkedIn?
* What – Twitter? Pownce?
* When – Upcoming? Socializr?
* Where – BrightKite? Dodgeball?
* How – Qik? Seesmic? Blogs?

All those are useful, I use most of them. I want the functionality they provide. But I also want to retain my data and use it in ways that they can’t. In other words, I want somewhere where I keep my data and functionality comes to me, rather then me giving up my data in exchange for functionality. Then I will become the source of the streams that reflect my identity, aspect of life and relationships.

Live Web revisited

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Let’s go back in history. 5 years ago Doc Searls wrote about the World Live Web. At the time, social web was forming in the hands of bloggers, no social networks, micro-blogging or some such.

…we’ve been limited in our understanding of the Web, and of the Net, by the real estate metaphors we use to make sense of it: site, address, location, home, delivery… Even commons. Those are all necessary yet insufficient to a full understanding of what the Web is for.

Yes, the Web is a place. Sure. But what do we do there? Is it just a place to put up sites? A place where we store and forward messages and publications to each other? Or is it a place where life happens? Is it a place where we can truly live?

I find that our understanding of the web is still limited – we build platforms and silos instead of living of the distributed magic of the net.

I was happy with using social web to describe the blogosphere, wikis, feeds, tagging. And then social networking arrived… Proliferating silos each extracting their pound of flesh from their users in the form of profiles and activities that lock data into a platform or a format and cannot be exported or used elsewhere.

Last time I saw Doc was two weeks in Boston and we talked about Live Web again. Here is what he blogged about it recently:

The Live Web isn’t just built. It grows, adapts and changes. It’s an environment where we text and post and author and update and tweet and syndicate and subscribe and notify and feed and — and yell and fart and say wise things and set off alarms and keep each other scared, safe or both. It’s verbs to the Static Web’s nouns. It is, in a biological word that has since gone technical, generative.

I explained that the Mine! is and has always been predicated on the Live Web. It is where people can be at their most empowered. And it is the best place for tools that would help them bypass platforms and lock-ins. The first time I mentioned this to Doc (and others) was at one of the IIW events in December 2007. I am glad to say we have come a long way since…

VRM brainstorm session at IIW

One of the outcomes of the meeting was connecting with a couple of geeks/coders willing to sit down and help to translate the vision of VRM personal data space into technical specs and hopefully a prototype to demonstrate what we have been trying to describe since the VRM brainstorming session at IIW in Mountain View last December.

Together with Alec we were able to do that with VRM feeds based data sharing, but now we need to move onto the lightweight tools for personal data capture, analysis and management (working name u-spot and after discussions last night likely to change to MINE. :) )

And I hasten to add that “Mine!” has been a much better choice of a name than u-spot. :)

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