It has been a while since I haven’t updated my Obsidian Social plugin.
As a reminder, Obsidian Social (Sekund) allows you to upload a note to a cloud and, from there, to share it with one or more people and/or groups. The recipients are notified within Obsidian and can add comments and thus engage in a dialogue with the author of the note. It is possible to create private and public groups, and to publish a note to make it accessible to anyone. Importantly, a note shared by Bob with Alice will be saved on Alice’s disk and she can link it to her own notes. This is important because the goal is to create knowledge, i.e., permanence. In this context, the resolutely ephemeral nature of communications on traditional platforms is an absolute anti-pattern.
Just under 700 people have signed up so far. Considering that I’m the worst software project promoter in history: no documentation, zero publicity,… I think it’s not bad, and in any case it proves that there is an audience for this concept. I’ve even had requests for the creation of private spaces, against payment, which I did not follow through, feeling that it would distract me from my main goal which is to explore new forms of collaboration for personal and collective growth.
However, at this point, I feel like I only just scratched the surface in terms of what is possible as far as integrating a PKM with a « social network ».
For my next experiment with this plugin, I want to explore the possibility of silently publishing the topics a user is working on. Here’s a slightly technical but superficial overview of the mechanism I am considering.
It will be possible, on a voluntary basis of course, to disseminate to the members of one’s network, in an automated (and “silent”) way:
- the description of a precise field of investigation
- an “atomic” idea in this field
- the origin of this idea (article, book, video)
- a semantic graph representing the relations maintained by these ideas in this domain
These 4 data structures are extracted from the PKM using declarative rules. Each of these data structures will be persisted - here, I consider the use of a distributed DB, in this case DefraDB, but as a first step we can simply reuse the existing backend, i.e. MongoDB Realm.
Each write operation of these different data will result in a notification in the workspace of the users subscribed to a specific topic. We then have different possibilities for the display of these notifications:
- in real time
- asynchronously, at the moment the user wants
- according to the work context
It is still only an idea, but the intention is there: to offer the opportunity to broadcast and capture what is still only the preliminary to a structured thought. Admitting that efforts to understand our times and our hopes are generally in their infancy, my proposal goes hand in hand with the idea of learning in public. The longer term vision is to create algorithms that will provide support for users to develop a learning trajectory that allows them to connect with a community of thought and interest that can create emulation and the willingness to develop common solutions, even to “do culture.”
That’s it. Thank you already for reading this long post. Does it speak to you? And if so, what are your intuitions, your ideas about the future of social networks, collective intelligence or, more modestly, about our capacity to encourage thoughtful conversations?
Last but not least: I would love to collaborate on this idea so if you have technical skills, please do get in touch!