September 07, 2002
The needy and the new kinds of spam

Just to add a little more info on e-begging: I do of course completely respect the right of the needy to ask the more fortunate for help. It's more this new high-tech approach and the sheer capability of these people that seems strangely self contradictory. It's a little like being asked for free cigarettes by well-dressed student types on the street. Buy your own!

Why this note. The above should be obvious - at least to people who now me. Well the original blog entry was commented. For some strange reason is the fourth most relevant page on Google referencing the "Help Me Leave My Husband" site. This led to a complete stranger posting a note that the poor woman was actually on the level and that this was much nicer than actual poor people who look scary asking for money.
Well I guees it is a good thing that the money will not be spent on alcohol and drugs.

I leave the site open for comments to allow this, so fair enough. Post on. The woman posting the comment was however conveniently also posting a reference to her own porn site. She's more than welcome, and I am sure I'm being a prude and applying all kinds of chauvenist morals, but the porn advert does detract from the message as far as I am concerned.

This got me thinking...

...of all the new ways in which we imprint ourselves on each other when the digital life is gradually enriched.

First of all - it is clear that weblog comments could easily become a new carrier for SPAM. And this time built into a publication system which in turn hooks into search engines, etc. By using algorithms like Google's to relate sites, Jenna of has created a connection between me and her porn site that (if was the web's most relevant anything - which it isn't) would be published regardless of my feelings on the matter. But of course Google also scans newsgroups so this is nothing new I guess.

Secondly, Jenna's digital persona (real or fictional) is an interesting choice to use for non-commercial communication.

To me is a step up into the digital life. I have claimed a name (A tacky one, but that at least has ironic purpose) and the name is enabled with all kinds of technology: Web and on top of that publication. An open approachable feedback channel via the comment system. I have an email server that I use to manage various social relations around me - maintaining mailing lists etc. When posting elsewhere I would gladly include (a costum spam-filtered) email address and a site link to, which of course makes the me posting, more interesting to interact with - since people would be responding to a comment-receiving extrovert rather than just

My poster, Jenna Nugent (her emai l address is porn too), is now a (text-)pornographer with a heart of gold instead of just some anonymous poster.

This has both a technical and a social aspect: The technical aspect is the "I've got my own server" aspect. I am always present on the net, even when I'm not really there - and I am more so than just be being able to receive email and posting HTML pages. The company I work for has a take on this

The social aspect is the 'server-fabric' of the internet - The name via DNS. The weblog notification service via Search engines.

The two aspects have an interplay since the social fabric is what makes the technical aspect valuable.

The upgraded edge-network (I am not just a browser and email user) is on the other hand important both in term of sense-of-ownership (There's that physical world biting the virtual world thing again - but maybe that's just me not keeping up with the times) and as a driver of new things, e.g. weblogs as a real publication medium.

To me the enhanced Jenna, and the enhanced Classy Dee are examples of media-convergence. It's not the old convergence of phone, TV, and internet - But it is a convergence of different internet media, and the connection is made at the edge where the communicating entity resides.

Ascio's take on this particular convergence has been fat names. Leveraging DNS as an information source for personal information. Lately the technology has been refocused for commercial reasons towards a light website instead but the vision remains.

This technology is still server-based, i.e. pure web technology. Other takes - which appear to the user as Instant Messaging on steroids play with the technical side of things also by moving processing - at least for some interactions - to the edge of the network, by enabling clients as publication devices. In some cases - like Radio - the use of the client as server or peer is circumstantial. For others - like Groove - it is the very idea. Groove is interesting, but to me the pure peer-to-peer is also missing the benefits I derive from A presence when I'm not present. My personal view on what would be the most interesting vision for Ascio Digital Identity is something like server based Groove.
What is missing is the the "rich client part" of Groove.

Posted by Claus at September 07, 2002 11:33 AM