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The Digital Footprint: Internet Philosophy with Kris Krug (2 of 3)

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This is part two of a three part interview with thought leader Kris Krug. Have you read Part One yet?

KE: You often talk about a ‘digital footprint’, what does it mean to you and where do you see it going?
KK: Every time we interact online we are leaving digital breadcrumbs. These little digital ‘bits’ leave a trail of information about us. We reveal things about ourselves and others make statements about us. This could be what you read, when you favourite a video or post a comment. It’s an amalgamation of what you do online. Even when we think we don’t exist on the net in fact we do.
[Google your name and add your main city of residence to see for yourself]

What do you think of Aggregators? Will that be the digital footprint?
Tumblr is one aggregator but it sucks things from other people and puts it together so it is not necessarily original content. Friendfeed is for your own stuff. These days we aren’t spending all our time in one place online so aggregators do a good job of bringing together our online persona. Our information and activity online makes up our persona. I see aggregators like Friendfeed but with better filters and more ways of making things fit together enabling a true digital footprint.
[Get an idea of how FriendFeed represents the digital footprint at Kris' feed or mine]

Do you see any really good Filters out there?
I am currently consulting for 2010 and the David Suzuki foundation, building custom dashboards. I am running searches for “Cultural Olympiad” through PostRank. It tells me who is saying what about this topic anywhere on the internet. I am also using Netvibes and Yahoo Pipes mixing and filtering feeds, Technorati and Google Alerts to track online content in real-time. The really good filters are custom built for their users to enable the most focused result.
[Also try Social Mention or Twitter Search for tracking internet chatter about your topic of choice]

Should we be using custom or proprietary filters to gather information?
The easiest to use and cheapest solution is good for the average individual. For companies or individuals needing custom in-depth solutions complete with statistics and analytics a custom solution is the way to go. The current market for these custom solutions is a bit of an arms race and the key is to dial in and refine searches and filters. Techniques like keyword segregation and optimization help enable custom solutions to increase the value for users. To those who understand the power of the media, know what’s possible and want to utilize that power will use custom systems going forward.

The internet is an incredibly visual medium, what does this mean for the written word?
I don’t know. Media literacy is very interesting. In the advertising age with TV we saw a movement away from literacy and ads towards visuals and real stories. Young people are continually tuning out traditional advertising. The internet is based on text, HTML=Hyper Text multi-language. It’s all about machines being able to read text and understanding linking and language. We are observing changes in communication. Things may not be better or worse, but they are certainly they are different. The approach to media is changing as media power becomes more decentralized. We are now able to receive many different perspectives, a myriad of voices representing different sides of an issue. Biases are now more explicit compared to the old system where biases were less obvious and people were tuning out advertising a lot less.

What would u like to see on the internet/web that is not currently available?
I would like to see more philosophical dialogue and less pure entertainment, more art and culture and less funny cat videos. I would like to see more true art online, more cultural interaction and above all; more collaboration. Canada Code is a great example. We now get to tell our own stories. VANOC’s people are doing a great job working inside an organization [the IOC] which is resistant to the internet as a means to create culture and identity. I would like to see us reaching out to artists and Canadians because we can tell the best stories.

You are an artist and creator who wears many hats, how do you keep it all in order?
I am constantly trying to do things that I love. I was raised on TV and the internet. My advice is to stay engaged in your passion projects. My love has resulted in my business. I love teaching, photography, geeking, creation, web design and promotion. The tools I am leveraging are fulfilling the promise of greater efficiency for me. I see a drastic increase in digital literacy, but there are still a large number of people who believe that if you reveal info online you will be stalked. This is the fear. Geeks used to be loathed and laughed at. Now there is great credibility to the knowledge that former geeks possess. Any people or businesses that steadfastly stay away from the internet will need a new solution to remain relevant in the digital age.

What about bloggers or creators whose work isn’t really seen by anyone? ;)
In regard to doing stuff that no one sees, if they keep it up people will eventually stumble upon it. Do it for the love of subject matter and it will come; the audience and the money. Learn more about your subject matter and figure out how to use it. I am a firm believer that there are different strokes for different folks. ‘Create your own reality’ with these tools and a community will grow around you if you engage them.

Do you think the sale of the Pirate Bay is a turning point in the proliferation of piracy on the net?
People’s attitudes about piracy are changing. BitTorrent is becoming like TCP/IP to email. In the sense that everyone uses email but few people know its backend is TCP/IP. People will get content anyway using peer to peer sharing. BitTorrent is a way to handle billions of users.

The view from L'Hermitage looking East towards Vancouver Public Library. -KE

Part 3 of this interview has been published. Have you read Part 1 yet?


  1. Love this interview. I had never heard of Kris and this is definitely the kind of perspective I'm looking for when talking about technology in general and web in particular.

    Great job!

  2. Many interesting points. I too would like to see more philosophical dialogue, more original thought and yes even art (as long as my tax dollars are not paying for it). Yet I see more twitter and a fragmentation of society into ever smaller groups.

    Maybe I could use a filter to find such dialogue, that way I could find the small fragment of those on the net that agree with me. LOL