Open Whuffie

I was asked this questions on Twitter: How do you ascribe a value to the original tweet without measuring its effects?

The question was put by @bureauista in reply to a tweet where I said, ‘yes, but for me the original tweet is the most valuable Whuffie score, how the info. impacts other life(ves) is still unclear’  in reply to @bureauista tweet, ‘a person’s RT score is a kind of whuffie’.

(I’m not sure how I would have said all that in less than 150 characters.)  I have been brewing a blog post entitled Open Whuffie for a while now and I think this blog post might start to answer the opening questions too, here goes:

Open Whuffie is the working title I have in my head for a project to create a opensource Whuffie currency.  Wikipedia gives us an opening definition of Whuffie, but I like to go back to original place where the word originated for me, the  novel by Cory Doctorow, Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom.  Here Whuffie is described as a number displayed on the forehead.  I just accepted it was a number but I have started to question if that has to be the case?  But for now Whuffie is going to be a numerical digit, much like we see in the stock markets of the world today.

The currency of stock markets (including futures exchanges) is money.  Money, cash, pounds, euros, dollars, yen, etc.  Numerous currencies, made numerous by the accident of country boarders or even new ‘virtual’ currencies segmented by information walled gardens or silos they operate in.  Whuffie is universal, the currency of all life.

In theory this implies that all life is connected to all other life at all times.  When new information is authored/created then it will affect all life, and that will range from a direct affect ( e.g. a RT in twitter) at one end of the rainbow to butterfly effects at the other (the chase for a  pot of gold is not required anymore).  The timing of any effect could be real time to a future time but refer back in time too.  What do we mean by life anyway?  I am sure we could go on listing variables that whuffie could include for a very long time.  And addressing these endless possibilities is the challenge to be grasped in measuring Whuffie, it will mean something different to everyone at the same time.

An attempt to be a bit less woolly in addressing the original Q.  The original tweet is more valuable than the RT’s in terms of Whuffie score.  Who knows?  More accurately I should have said, the original tweet has a whuffie score, the RT might be more valuable as its ‘new information’ value (yes, even thought it is sort of a copy), who knows?  The nub of the point I was attempting to make was that the original tweet does not require any RE-tweeting to have a Whuffie score to give it a measurement.  Why?  In theory, given we know all other information in the universe, we can ‘measure’ the affect this new information has had.  Sure, hyperlinks have made more visible the intangibles of yesterday (influence, social capital, call it what you may) but we can free ourselves of hyperlinks, just like monetary capitalism can from ‘banking transactions’ to propel us forward to an Attention Economy.

It’s a start, and hopefully I’ll get round to setting up an OpenWhuffie project wiki and devoting more attention to it.

An add-on: a for instance. . .

Everyday on the site I build, I have a primitive framework working (I refer to it as a stage before the creation of a whuffie currency), here is what it does:

Lets say, I (James) authored a blog post / twitter e.g.  I pulled a muscle swimming tonight at the pool.    And the quest for information I have is to recover as best I can.    Now my twitter/ blog commentators may provide info. but what I really want is to ‘correlate’ myself to all life that has the best information.  What happens is the ‘software/machine’ ‘understands’ the context of what I have authored (and in the context of all my previous authored info. on my life), it also understands the context of all other swimmers that have pulled a muscle swimming, the ‘machine’ then bring to my attention the best bits of information for me.  No hyperlinks are counted into a PageRank (by the way PageRank is  the current best way to link to information)  but the context does have numerical score attached to it.  I will be open sourcing the documentation on the scoring context dynamics, for the nitty gritty on that. Whuffie scoring will be the stage after ‘context’ scoring.