Category: Identity Policy

On Weavrs

Disclaimer – I have been involved with Weavrs and the Philter Phactory in some way or another for many years and I am more than happy to be able to say that David Bausola (that guy) is a personal friend.


You may, or may not, have stumbled across the rather amusing story of Jon Ronson versus Jon_Ronson. If you haven’t, then you can watch the interview with the Philter Phactory and Jon, here and read the follow up post that clarifies the matter somewhat, here. I’m not going to comment on the matter except to say that neither side of the argument comes across clearly, the Philter Phactory should stop using long words that nobody understands and Jon Ronson appears to have a slightly antagonist history with anything fictional that appears to be “real”. Everyone needs to get out more too.

It has been interesting for me to watch people struggle with trying to describe what these “weavrs” actually are. In fact it has been said on a number of occasions that it is impossible to do so. Even the Philter Phactory struggle with a clear description of what their product is. Now, as the disclaimer above states, I’ve had the privilege of playing with various incarnations of weavrs since 2009 at a time when it was called the Demo Graphic Replicator. I would like to point out that I was never involved in developing any of the black-box magic, that was done by people much smarter than myself. I was asked as a storyteller, a designer of digital characters to play with these things. I am not a philosopher, I am just a bloke who buggers about on the internet and yet I feel that I am more than capable of describing what these bloody weavrs actually are.

1. Weavrs are streamtellers.
Streamtelling is something I have, and continue to use to describe what characters within a digital space do. The early version of weavrs was very basic and required the designer of a character to join up the dots that the character was giving them. These dots (and this hasn’t changed at all) were pieces of social content that made emotional sense to the algorithm. The joining of the dots (back in 2009 this was nothing more than tweets) was a hand crafted narrative layer – a story that was informed by what the digital character was collecting online. Three years later and weavrs have, to a certain extent, automated the narrative layer; they are walking, singing (whistling), tweeting, listening to music, reading, making posters, dreaming, cooking etc, all of which they blog about. The weavr tells its own story, which is based on social stuff that makes emotional sense to the algorithm.

2. Weavrs are emotional render ghosts (HT James Bridle).
Weavrs don’t pretend to be people. This is really important to understand and seems to confuse the hell out of people. Yes, you can give a weavr a real name but the weavr will always behave like a weavr (you just have to chat to one to find that out). A big clue to what weavrs are (I have no idea if this was intentional) is the filter that is applied to profile icon which, to me at least, shows the weavr to be something behind pane of textured glass or something peering into a shattered mirror. Weavrs are shards of emotions, ghosts, a reflection of something. Weavrs are emotional render ghosts. James is smashing this stuff out of the ball park with his New Aesthetic stuff which you must read. Bruce Sterling says so (and so do I). The back end of the weavr platform allows you to build very detailed characters and at a first glance you would be forgiven in thinking that you could in fact “build” a real “person” but that never really happens because…

3. Weavrs are disobedient dogs.
Regardless of how detailed you plan your weavr, regardless how detailed you populate the emotions with key words and regardless of how clear you are in your own head about what a weavr is going to be, the weavr will run of and do something different. That’s not to say that what it does isn’t right, it’s just doing what makes sense to the weavr at the time based on how it’s feeling and what it can find on the social web. You can tell it what it’s made of but you can’t tell it what to do. You think you’ve told it to “sit” but the weavr will go and fetch the morning paper. This can be hugely frustrating at first but after a while quite enjoyable.

So weavrs are disobedient streamtelling render ghost dogs. Easy, eh?

Good morning.

Identity Is Prismatic

“The portrait of identity online is often painted in black and white,” Poole said. “Who you are online is who you are offline.” That rosy view of identity is complemented with a similarly oversimplified view of anonymity. People think of anonymity as dark and chaotic, Poole said.

But human identity doesn’t work like that online or offline. We present ourselves differently in different contexts, and that’s key to our creativity and self-expression. “It’s not ‘who you share with,’ it’s ‘who you share as,'” Poole told us. “Identity is prismatic.”

Read more here. Many thanks to Olaf for allowing me to post the image above.

Identity in the age of digital reproduction


If you are new here, you may wish to have a look at these posts.

I’d like to introduce you to the beginnings of the growing army of the army of me. It is an ever growing army of real names – my name. Here are some of me on google+. All on policy. Three real Marcus John Henry Brown’s.

I’d like to introduce you to a few versions of me that are currently living on Twitter. They actually live (are being informed) somewhere else but I’ll get to that later.!/MarcusJHBrown!/MetaMarcus!/tinmarcusbrown!/MarcusBrown10Wf!/MarcusBrown10wm

So with the acception of this blog, I’m beginning to automate myself within the social web. I’m using Philter Phactory’s wonderful plattform (none of the technology being used here was developed by any version of me – it was all developed and engineered by The Philter Phactory – many thanks to David and his team) to create this little army. I’m feeding my own persona into the weavrs’ system and mapping out my own personal history. The weavrs post, tweet, listen to music, check in to places and learn new skills. I’m currently running a series of 40 year old versions of myself that live in Munich here, here and here, as well a series of 10 year old versions of me living in Woolston (where I grew up in England). Here they are.

Each version of me has a slightly different state and publishes accordingly. You can ask all the versions of me questions too and we will try our best to answer.

All you have to do is send on of me a tweet or hit the “ask me” button on one of my weavr blogs. I should warn you that all of me are pretty snarky. Oh, and for those of you who think that klout and influence are important; if you think that you are defining your online presence/personality/identity through rankings etc, my army of me have klout scores too:

This is just the beginning. By the time I’m finished it will be impossible to tell the real Marcus John Henry Brown’s from the other Marcus John Henry Brown’s.  I’ll keep you up to date. Good afternoon.

The Fool

“In many esoteric systems of interpretation, the Fool is usually interpreted as the protagonist of a story, and the Major Arcana is the path the Fool takes through the great mysteries of life and the main human archetypes. This path is known traditionally in Tarot as the Fool´s Journey, and is frequently used to introduce the meaning of Major Arcana cards to beginners.

In his Manual of Cartomancy, Grand Orient has a curious suggestion of the office of Mystic Fool, as a part of his process in higher divination. The conventional explanations say that The Fool signifies the flesh, the sensitive life, depicting folly at the most insensate stage. When The Fool appears in a spread, he is a signal to strip down to the irreducible core, and interrogate whether the Querant’s self-vision is obscured. It may also be a warning that significant change is coming. Another interpretation of the card is that of taking action where the circumstances are unknown, confronting one’s fears, taking risks, and so on.”