Andy Powell (@andypowe11) shared the text of Ramakrishnan & Tomkins (2007) “Toward a PeopleWeb”. According to the authors, “Attentional metadata is increasingly sought after and is beginning to accumulate in significant volume, suggesting a paradigm shift – and simultaneously raising serious questions about user privacy.” (63) A shift from what to what, I wonder? They argue, “As people and objects acquire metadata while moving across Web sites, a new kind of interwoven community fabric will emerge.” (64)
There is a disturbing passivity to this assertion. People and objects will not simply acquire metadata. They will largely be given it by sites that have been engineered to do so for particular purposes.
They observe (correctly imo) that, “… the theme of a centralized versus a distributed infrastructure will arise frequently. While the former approach has the appeal of technical simplicity, the Web has repeatedly shown itself to be anarchistic, and distributed solutions are viable for many of the problems we consider.” (65) This may be the paradigm shift. But the implications are extensive.