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January 03, 2008


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Jeff Doyle

'Shrink Wrap Magna Carta' is an allusion to the fact that Phil has been spanking me in the comments section of handmeon for not writing a constitution protecting Handmeon users' contributed content from the kind of capitalist appropriation exercised by the meanies at Facebook. (http://www.handmeon.com/post/show/463)

Why does this matter? Read the blog post at 'All Things Digital' (http://kara.allthingsd.com/20080103/free-the-scoble-5000/) about how Facebook shut down Robert Scoble's account when he tried to pull data from his own account.


Thanks Jeff, this is a critical issue for our digital future.

I don't use LinkedIn for similar reasons. It was all the rage back in 2004 and I signed up to check it out. Then I went to PlaNetwork in July 2004 where the founder was on a panel of social software entreprenuers. It quickly became apparent that he was completely unreceptive to the idea that our contact networks are our own personal data. I stopped using it after that.

In the end I claim than any player who doesn't respect user ownership and tries to create artificial stickiness will lose. I like the line about them shooting themselves in the foot, and running out of feet.


Jeff, let me introduce Gerry. He is an MIT trained open source software guy who has also done work in corporate environments. He is a long time contributor here. I believe Michael J "Notio" would recall meeting Gerry in Chicago at a Gifthub organized "Open Space for Giving Conference" a few years ago.


I registered as a HandMeOn user today.

One of my first thoughts is that HandMeOn itself could be a HandMeOn object, and that doing that would create a space for inviting the HandMeOn community into the discussion. At first I was a little unclear on what you are doing, but I really like it as I warm up to it. The software design and function is really well done, and I would like to encourage you if you are not already thinking that way to share the code too. I'm working on a project called Source Tree Commons that is creating community around open source projects and I would really like to invite HandMeOn join that family too. That way the excellent work you are doing can inform as well as provide code implementations for key areas. (Really I'd be looking for something like "platform integration" so that families of sites and tools work seamlessly together, but that's a technical design discussion.)

Jeff Doyle

Sorry Gerry, I just noticed your comment. (Is there anything like RSS for comments on GiftHub?)

That's a good idea. Right now we have the blog but it isn't all that well integrated into the site and it might make more sense to do something like you suggest. Currently, we are struggling with the question of how to best address the question of our stewardship of the user-created content and we will probably want to open that discussion up to the community, too.


Comment feeds are coming in typepad. When available, I will enable them.


I want to explore the use of HandMeOn in creating safe digital spaces as well as open dialog and decision processes. The gift circle aspects would remain forgrounded even as we adapt it to new rituals.

I'm not sure how to start a general discussion at HandMeOn, so I jot notes here. I have some ideas on how to use it very powerfully.

How is the flamingo?

Philippe Bradley

Rediscovering the value of our Commons and of sharing is going to be a vital part of the rebirth of philanthropy, not as a tax dodge or feelgood stairway to heaven, but as a real way of living.

This is what makes the digital revolution so important. The transition from making things out of atoms - which are heavy, impossible to copy, and tricky to move around - to digital bits (streams of 1s and 0s) - which are the exact opposite - easy to make, shape, copy and share, and infinitely renewable (no scarcity effect) - will in time make us more habituated to giving things out for free.

Sharing, just because it's easier to do (and more rewarding!) than to impose a transaction framework on the exchange, and because we get something back. My hope is that, in time, our online experiences affect who we become, and this transitions into the offline world as well. Soft sociopolitical / socioeconomic revolution!

I wonder whether I feel this strongly about the Commons because a) I am a scientist by training, thus experience the sharing of ideas (and the peer review system) every day, or because I have grown up immersed in content-sharing networks - be they blogs such as these, where we share insights with one another for free, or music/film sharing communities (which may or may not have been legal...) which, again, are gift economies (more or less... download credit/ratio is a kind of currency, I guess).

Perhaps the generation of pirates (I read today that 35% of music downloads in Spain are illegal) is unintendedly gaining an education and an appreciation for the Commons and the value of a gift economy!


If Pepis owns the air soon we will all be pirates from our first breath, unless our parents have prepaid our oxygen account.

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