The future is fractal.

Diana Kimball, Save for Later

This line is buried in a post about — of all things — bookmarking apps, and from which Kimball manages to go stratospheric (and intimating the breadth and depth of her thinking), Here’s the enclosing fragment:

To bookmark is a tentative act, verging on fatalistic; there are no guarantees. And that’s why, compared to the other signals that comprise the Database of Intentions — The Query, The Social Graph, The Status Update, The Check-In, and The Purchase — The Bookmark can be frustrating. The Social Graph and The Purchase map the past; The Query, The Status Update, and The Check-In map the present. They’re accurate. They’re reliable. They’re sensible. They’re also limited. Past is almost always prelude, but it doesn’t capture the ways in which we’re willing to change.

By contrast, the future is fractal. And in their capacity to structure abundance, bookmarks are, too. The wish economy matters because it catalogs all of the possibilities we’re open to. In aggregate, the incorporation of bookmarks into the Database of Intentions gives companies new tools for persuasion. But at a personal level, the tender utility of bookmarking remains.

I wonder about the personal dribbling into public: better ways to allow our fascinations and fetishes to bleed out, and to touch others. I have used dozens of bookmarking tools — those that Kimball examines and many, many others. I have yet to find the right blend of affordances that mix my need to cache links, tie them to notes and tags, and to share my exhaust with others who might care. That act is adjacent to short form writing, but is more inward, or, as Kimball says, a part of the ‘wish economy.’

Originally posted on on 23 January 2015.

Work ecologist. Founder, Work Futures. The ecology of work and the anthropology of the future.

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