a Path towards privacy, translucency and the Age of Aquarius

Three life moments. One new app. About 600 words. Let’s go…

1) At BlogHer 2008, I remember being in the room and learning that Naked Blogging meant understanding just how many layers one would want to take off; just how bare one’s prose and pictorials could and should be to the world. A thread running at BlogHer since 2005, that year they were asking: Can You Take Back Naked Blogging? Panelists Koan, Mena Trott and Tracey Gaughran-Perez helped us navigate. It was intense, raw, real. I loved it.

2) At Transparency Camp 2009, transparency as it related to governance was the topic du jour, with Obama having just been inaugurated not more than a few blocks away (we were at GWU, 21st and H NW) and a few weeks prior. For my ad-hoc session, I waxed poetic about another internet-meets-humanity issue: personal privacy. And intimacy. And the age old public-private divide that felt more like a once venn-now-amoeba diagram thanks to social media. If I remember correctly, the day and room were filled with some of the brightest light-shiners on the web… Chris Messina and Clay Johnson were there, so too were Alan Rosenblatt, Gabriela Schneider, Bill Beutler and Tim O’Reilly. Even Tracy Viselli had made the trip from my birthstate. Suffice it to say: A veritable who’s who of transparency. Many diagrams and axes were drawn. From the whiteboarding, this say-it-all-in-the-header-why-don’t-you presentation emerged nearly a half year later:

3) And, so, when Path was launched publicly tonight through a good dozen or so hits on all the right outlets CNET, Wired, NYT, AllThingsD, TNW, TechCrunch, Mashable, GigaOm, RWW, LATimes, it all came rushing back. The Naked Blogging predicament. The constant state of T-M-I-transparency that leads us all to ask in our own way: ‘can we be honest brokers of information while still being able to hold back parts of our lives, ourselves?’

While the tech pundits did their best to get in the digs with witty quips about it being a “path to nowhere” (I wonder how Gravina Island feels about that headline, Mr. Malik) — some others alluded to the richer, deeper thing that is going on here. As I see it, Path is absolutely a demonstration of the “translucency in 2010″ that I, along with others in the industry, predicted in the [non-JESS3-beautified] deck above. Is Path the heralding of the coming of translucency? Woe be to those eager to lump Path into the “mini photo-sharing app boomlet.” It just might be a dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

(Get it, Path is translucent, so it lets the sunshine in. The later it gets, the cleverer I get. At 2:18, it shines in.)

And, also: It gets better. Apparently, [The Age of] Aquarius “…traditionally ‘rules’ electricity, computers, flight, democracy, freedom, humanitarianism, idealists, modernization, astrology, nervous disorders, rebels and rebellion.” Well Path, without putting too much on your shoulders, I believe Wikipedia, The 5th Dimension, Hair and my blog post just helped us take it to that level. And now, it is up to you to live up to it.

But that’s my late night, just got off a plane, growing my own company at a neck breaking pace, shoe-horning one of my favorite songs in, right song, wrong video 2 cents.

More importantly: what do you think? Do the pundits have it right? Or is the 50 person friend cap, as foursquare’s Tristan Walker puts it, the new .edu?

And, to Victor Nguyen-Long, thanks for the inspiration to blog this and “discuss.”

Written by: Leslie Bradshaw | President & COO, JESS3



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