I hope you like speculative thinking and academic wordswordswords!
Reading through this article on the difficulties facing a continuity of work between time spent in (or maybe on) academia vs. what we produce away from it. Certainly having a way to syndicate work for easier digestion by an academic system is great but this idea has broader implications that are far more exciting. Consider the syndicated feed: every CMS we deal with has some form of this, from youtube subscriptions to blogs to podcasts hosted across the net, deviantart subscriptions… everything has some way to publish content and push alerts. RSS readers are almost a necessity if you try to keep up with large volumes of information from news websites, twitter announcements, or any other high-volume content source.
All of these systems assume a user operates solely inside the proscribed environment. That is, you’re uploading to youtube from one place, updating twitter from another app, blogging inside some other framework or program and the point-of-entry for all of this content has the appearance that the author of whatever content exists many-times-over with a multiplicity of accounts. Broadly speaking, this is messy. It feels a lot like digital commuting. Applications are common that try to unify accounts into single places-of-work or allow multiple accounts to be managed from a single location but these still lack a sense of unity between the author of the content and the way that content is disseminated.
Instead of aggregating content we create from a multitude of other feeds and compiling them into a single place for digestion, it seems more common-sense to have all the other feeds and sites draw that content from a single feed of our creation and management. Say I publish a news article on a local event. It gets some attention and a few local news sites want to republish the material. Instead of taking the content and moving it to their site for publishing, they pay a licensing fee and, as the content manager, I allow them to republish the article directly from my feed. Attribution points back to my personal feed and generates traffic to the news site as well as peripheral traffic back to my personal feed. Another news site sees the article and wants that content as well. They pay, access is given and they can republish the content as well. Access can be revoked, ownership can be renegotiated at any time in the future and this preserves a sense of creative linearity.
This dovetails nicely with what I’m talking about here. Assuming a creator-first and top-down syndication architecture gives the power to find and manage a public back to the content creator and not the managing syndication. The inclusion of metadata into the created content and its subsequent ease of indexing allows for a much more diverse intersection of publics. Choosing what we tag our content with gives us the ability to go fishing for a specific public and insert ourselves into ongoing conversations with other creators. In this type of environment, everyone becomes a creator with the option of sharing as much, or as little, with every potential consumer. individuals can form collectives and republish each others work in a way similar to Tumblr and Twitter without the overhead of a corporate entity facilitating the conversation and pushing for increasingly-invasive monetization schemes.
This is all entirely moot without presupposing the inherent and inalienable right for all individuals to have access to global communication and freedom from governmental or private censorship, as well as easy and ready access to technologies that would facilitate this sort of public engagement. The second is already here; smartphones, computers, tablets, and near-total coverage of cellular and wi-fi signals. The first, however, might still be a ways off.