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what the voices in my head tell me to write

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My exoself 

A while ago I was reading a few books that have the concept of an exoself Then I read the following mind hack and got to thinking.

I seem to remember less and less information recently. Instead of remembering facts I remember where to go to look for the information I need. Its a sort of memory palace mind hack but instead of constructing a mental map of where I store information in my head I construct a mental map of where I know information is stored on on line.

Of course this is spread across a lot of services. browser bookmarks and history, backpack, google calendar, rss feeds, del.icio.us, flickr, google alerts, email, im, message boards, second life, google searches, last.fm, itunes, random files on my pcs and pda and also in other peoples heads (this is when I get stuck on a problem I know that joe bloggs is the person to ask for the answer) to name a few.

The value of items stored there may be trivial like "a good photo of a old rusty car I added to my favourites on flickr" to "an important bit of information on an area of CSS that I don't use very often that I tagged on del.icio.us". For each of them I dont actually remember very much about them. For the CSS example I would remember that it was about print stylesheets and I tagged as CSS and something else probably print. I don't actually remember any more detail than that. I don't need to I can go and check my del.icio.us link to see if its what I need.

The findability of many of these items initially might be quite low. To take the css example I might have searched for a long time to find that piece of information. Once its tagged and in del.icio.us its easy to find again. I really must get into using backpack or jotspot once google make it free to act as more of an central system collating together all of these things. Perhaps one of the web based desktops like eyeOS (As a futher example of my exoself I remembered reading about this on digg and then searched digg to find it, I had no idea what it was called, I knew it existed and where I read about it) to organize all my information in my exoself in one place.

Leigh did a thing a while ago called "download my brain" which is essentially an OPML file of your del.icio.us, flickr etc feeds. This is sort of simillar to feedburners "enhanced" rss feeds for a personal site. Its a great way of getting a summary of an persons exoself.

A typo a moment ago made me think some more. I typed personas instead of persons. It might well be possible to have different exoselves for the same person. For instance it seems like some people create whole new identities for themselves in RPGs etc. They play the game entirely in role and correspond with other games in role. I know several people who have separate email and IM accounts for their different on line personas so why not extend it further?

Permanent link and Comments posted by Rob Cornelius @ Tuesday, November 28, 2006

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