Return to the Blog and Life
Things have been quiet here? Um, yes they have. The past couple years have been full of changes and struggles. It seemed that just as things were turning from a rough stretch on personal and work front, something would rise up and cripple that forward progress.
This past year it was my dad calling in June of 2009 saying he cancer of the stomach that had spread to the liver. He seemed to improve quite a bit by Christmas of 2009 as he and my mom came back to visit, which was quite wonderful. But, on the return home he started not doing well and they found a tumor on his brain. Things stopped improving after this and it became a bit of a rough road for him. Not paying close attention to my own well being it really had an impact on me. He was my best buddy and I knew time was running short.
In July of this year my dad died and while it was really hard to comprehend and sad, it was also freeing. Not only did that concern and un-noticed energy focus had shifted, but I also had the focus that the safety net of parents love, guidance, and all types of parental support had sifted from a set of two, to just one. But, I realized I still had two feet and put that energy and time back into work.
Time Spent Digging
During the past couple years during all the change and struggle, I've spent a lot of time sorting through the things I am deeply passionate about, which are many and fit wonderfully with the work I do. I have spent a lot of time digging quite deeply into social software and the whys and how it works, but more intrigued where it doesn't with the 90% of the world that make up the mainstream. I have a lot of writing I haven't posted or shared on this, but have some of it in workshops and presentations I have done in the past couple years. That will likely be finally getting posted over at Personal InfoCloud.
Over many years and as part of my formal education I have read much of the usual corpus of social theorists, whom I always finding myself having to set aside reality to embrace the theorists models enough to understand them, but then come back to reality and they don't fit as well as a whole. I've always been mindful of them, but as I have been digging back into my older frameworks of the Model of Atraction and Come to Me Web and how they helped me work through and understand interactions with information on the web and beyond to build and frame next generation services, along with helping others do the same.
This review and digging has lead me to a lot of understandings and realizations around the social web and echos all the years of building, managing, iterating, and maintaining social tools. The same problems always surface, which are the tools don't really allow humans to be social like humans are social with out a mediated interface. But there are basic understanding of how humans are social through tools as mediated interfaces that is counter to many of the ways many of the tools and services are developed and provided.
Now mixing the older Model of Attraction and come to me web frameworks for thinking with the models and understandings I have come to in the past few years regarding social software have really gelled. These ideas will be getting out there and have been the fodder for client work that is resurfacing now that the economy has become out of its dire state (for now).
About that Book
As many know I was writing a book on folksonomy for O'Reilly. That book hit a wall (no, not a Vander Wal), or a few of them and I was notified O'Reilly would not be publishing it. Early in writing it I got stumped by many things that I was seeing as they did not fit any of the social models being touted as core to understanding social in the Web 2.0 sense. It took me about 18 months to deconstruct all of what I knew, what others knew, and get to models I could use to think through some of the really strong values people were finding and the problems that people were having that seems completely counter to "how the social web works&qout;.
Following this there were many changes happening in my personal life that took attention and focus. But, at the same time the services and tools were changing drastically. Many of the really good tools that were addressing the hard problems, but not popular were shutting down. This was also happening for the tools for organizations to purchase and use internally (where my main focus has been). But, content for the book is still moving forward and I am looking for a publisher that fits well for it. Now that SharePoint 2010 has social bookmarking / tagging in it (although a really really rough interface for it) the book has much more value, so people deploying it can have a much better understanding of what is really needed to have it help remove the huge problem organizations face, of not being able to find and refind information they are sure they have when they need it. But, I am also free to blog much of what was heading into the book so it can get feedback and more eyes honing it.
Yes! I am back blogging. More non-work type posts will be here at Off the Top and work related content is over at Personal InfoCloud, but also am dropping odd bits in my Tumblr vanderwal blog. I am likely going to change the platform under this blog to something that I did not write in 2001 sometime in the next couple of months (nearly 2,000 post and categories to transfer).