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No Objects w/o Authors: There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.

There was a moment when email became the new file system. Senders, messages and attachments are organized as a sequence of events through time. We write and send a new message; we reply to a received message; we forward a message to someone who should hear.

When we need to save a copy of a document we’ve been working on, we email it to ourselves. As the cost of storage in the cloud approaches zero, it becomes the easiest way to organize information. No need to delete any email ever, no need to stash it away in a hierarchy of folders — search allows everything to be found across the timeline.

There are a number of alternative desktop and file system metaphors that have been proposed. Some of the more interesting ones rely on a history of documents through time as an organic method of organization. Email already accomplishes this transition. Objects in a network are never neutral or natural, their origin can always be traced back to a  human author. Everything you read is written — data is social — it’s by and for the people.

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
It’s easy.

Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It’s easy.

– John Lennon

Email is one way that people talk to each other, but there are many other ways we connect through the Network. Searching and Tracking across these multiple streams, coordinating and connecting them is the basis for a new file system.

We don’t like to wait for feedback, because we don’t like the feeling of being misunderstood or left hanging. Real-time web interactions provide immediate feedback to the speaker. The thing that seems the furthest away, the live web, is the thing that is most ordinary in our lives. Someone listens to a speaker and speaks back into the conversation, feeding it and helping it grow. All you need is…

Published in identity language network reading writing

One Comment

  1. Excellent post. When using email in this way, as I do, it really shows up the fact that not all email clients are created equal. While my corporate email on Outlook has a limit of 250MB, searching is can be a very slow process (don't get me started on the hopeless tagging, sorry categories, in Outlook), while I have filled gigabytes on my personal gmail and search there is lightning fast.

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