Sunday, June 15, 2008

Intention Broadcasting

Read published short paper on Intention Broadcasting

How an intention broadcasting system works compared more conventional forms of organizing


Social media innovations, together with rapidly improving data sharing methodologies, are enabling individuals and groups to instantly disseminate, or ‘broadcast’, messages across many diverse networks. This phenomenon, combined with the growing use of social media services for sharing and coordinating intentions, led me to develop the concept of “intention broadcasting”.

(Blog revised: 10 December 2009)

Intention Broadcasting is the process of sharing and coordinating intentions via computer-mediated systems.

It has similarities to status messaging but with the emphasis on the future.

A fully-functioning Intention Broadcasting system should also enable the intended audience to directly respond via a feedback loop that can directly affect the intention. For example, in relation to organizing an event the recipient should be able to indicate their intention to join up.

Intention Broadcasting – A Model for Computer-mediated Intention Sharing and Coordinating

In order to help make the following key phases easier to remember I have decided to run with the “broadcasting” metaphor and use related terms:

Goal: the agent has a need or desire that necessitates a desired outcome.
Options: the agent has various options based on the combined knowledge, skills and the perceivable affordances in the given environment.
Intention: the agent selects an intention towards achieving the goal.
Broadcast: the agent passively broadcasts their intention to a defined target audience (broad or narrow) via computer-mediated networks, e.g. social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter.
Tuning: the targeted audiences are “tuned in” to receive relevant intentions. The tuning is done using any method or technologies that can help filter the intentions: groups, RSS, “constant searches” , API connections, etc.
Rating: if necessary a collaborative rating system can be used to help protect both the broadcaster and audience from bad intentions and potentially unreliable people, e.g. a bad plumber.
Coordination: systems for enabling the parties to overcome contextual problems though interaction and collaboration.
Outcome: Goal accomplished.

In light of the clear interest in this blog post by Jeremiah Owyang about the Intention Web, I thought I should start promoting my short paper on Intention Broadcasting that was published as part of the Proceedings of I-KNOW ’09 and I-SEMANTICS ’09 Conference 2-4 September 2009, Graz, Austria. It is basically a summary of my final MA thesis that I undertook at Media Lab, Helsinki, which is now part of the new Finnish Aalto University.

Read it here in Scribd or Download the PDF

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Two Great Nations Divided by the Same Language

An Introduction to The Zipipop Style Guide

Every organization should follow a style guide to promote consistency, efficiency and clarity in the production of written material. I have developed this style guide after many years of copy-editing experience working for European-based NGO organizations (e.g. CMI). Since my clients have been requesting a style guide, I have created The Zipipop Style Guide partly as a gift to them; which explains the emphasis on words commonly used in text concerning development issues.

The development of a language is driven by the need to communicate and its effectiveness is achieved via consensus. However, this consensus must be allowed to be in a state of flux otherwise a language will lose its ability to evolve: hindering its effectiveness and future relevance.

The Internet has become both a powerful tool for speeding up linguistic consensus, while conversely, providing vibrancy and innovation. Therefore, it has become the ultimate editorial resource – particularly with the advent of services like Google, (the lexical companion to Wikipedia) and Wikipedia's own Manual of Style.

"Britain and America...two great nations divided by the same language." – Winston Churchill

"We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language." – Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost

When choosing to write in English one has to decide whether to follow the British or American traditions. The trends are definitely favouring American English – since any quick 'Google Fight' will result in an American spelling being overwhelmingly victorious (go to and try out color verus colour, or, center versus centre, or, organization versus organisation). However, this is biased towards centres of web content production (namely the USA).

It is not yet, however, a clear cut case of which tradition to go for as many millions around the world are not yet ready to give up using British English. This is largely due to identity and tradition, but there are also some practical considerations. British English and its variants, sometimes referred to as Commonwealth English, are wide spread across the world in influential countries such as Canada, Australia and India, and it is the preferred choice of European organizations, such as the EU and many international bodies such as the UN.

What many people don't realize, however, is that in both traditions there are still surprisingly many options for exercising choice in both spelling and style. Here are some examples in the British tradition that are 'officially' recognized: organize, organise; learnt, learned; co-operation, cooperation; I have a car, I have got a car; and the list goes on.

The American tradition is much stricter but will still 'officially' recognize, for example, both: canceling, cancelling (Wikipedia link to Differences between American and British English). However, by looking for situations where there is opportunity of agreement, I have created a British-based style that allows for increased harmony between the traditions. And I have called it The Zipipop Style Guide.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Zipipop Style Guide

Narrowing the Divide between British and American English

The Zipipop Style Guide takes Oxford spelling as the starting point since it is more harmonious with American spelling. Oxford spelling is used by most UN, and many international organizations, Oxford University Press and some other highly-regarded UK publishers, such as Dorling Kindersley.

The other main reference point is Wikipedia's Manual of Style, which is clear and to the point with the wiki advantage of being consensus driven.

Online Dictionaries:

The Cambridge Online – Clearly shows the differences between British & American spellings but can be slow to integrate new words. – Cluttered but otherwise good (with audio pronunciations). – A very well organized wiki dictionary.

Online Theasaurus: – Clear and thorough.

Dates: (without "-th" ordinal suffixes in line with Wikipedia guidelines and using the international format)

14 February 1990; between 10 and 14 June 2007; on 14 and 15 December

To ise or to ize: Although -ise endings are more common in British-based publishing, it is still correct to use the -ize forms (Oxford spelling), which are more in line with American spelling. Please note that this does not include words ending in -yse, eg – analyse, paralyse and catalyse. However, there are certain words that must always take the -ise in both traditions, however, no need to worry as your spell checker will pick up on those.

To oo or to o-o
: Use cooperation and coordination.

Learnt or Learned type words: Use the -ed versions.

Use: peacekeeping, peacebuilding, statebuilding

Programme/Program: In British spelling a program is something your write for your computer. In all other contexts use programme.

British Words: Click here for a list of British words that should be used carefully since they might not be commonly understood by Americans.

Quite: To be used carefully since in American English it retains its original meaning of 'very'. The following transcript from a high-profile interview with Bill Clinton and Sir David Dimbleby on BBC television says it all:

CLINTON:  Well, first of all I support John Kerry. He’s
a good man, he’s a good senator and I believe he’d be
quite a good President.


CLINTON: Very very good President. Quite a good
President, you don’t say that? I think he will, I think
he’d be an excellent President.

Spelling and grammar checkers have become surprisingly effective, so pay attention to what they suggest (even if they are not right all the time). For everything else consult the web and make your own decisions. Happy writing!