Shaping the boundaries of self-projection

I've recently added a sidebar to my blog's template to report items I've bookmarked in Someone asked me the other day how it works, and I promised to explain here. It's a simple one-liner1 that can be added to the template used with any blog publishing system:

<script src=""> </script>
You'll probably want to replace my username with yours, of course.

If you use this method, you'll become acutely aware of the public nature of your bookmarks. In my case, I already was acutely aware of that. When I subscribed to my own feed in Bloglines, I was startled to find that there were a hundred other folks also subscribed to my links.

A couple of weeks ago, Bloglines quit reporting the number of subscribers for that feed. I wrote a couple of emails asking why and never heard back. Today, I noticed that it is no longer reporting the number of subscribers for any of my feeds. It's bad form to complain about free services (though I've been guilty of breaking that rule), but I'd sure like to know if this new behavior is a bug or a policy.

Anyway, the new private bookmarks feature of makes it much easier to use the service in a way that combines public commentary with personal information management. It works as advertised, though I wish my private entries were tagged as such. In order to review my private entries, I'm tagging them with privatebookmark, but it's easy to forget to do that.

In general, as we increasingly use the same information systems for public and private activities, for work and family, for teams and inviduals, we'll need more and better ways to see and tune the complex shifting boundaries among these realms. Since ACLs (access control lists) don't scale it's a huge challenge to move beyond binary choices, like public versus private, to more nuanced ways of sharing.

At ETech, Jeff Han's multi-touch interface was a big hit. I wish I could use that kind of interactive power to visualize the surface area I present to the world at large, as well as to individuals and groups.

1 Update: Oops, I skipped the other half of the equation. You need a companion script that goes something like this:

var delicious = Delicious['posts'];
document.write('<p class="realsmall" 
 style="font-weight:bold;text-align:center">Recent Links</p>');
for ( i = 0; i < delicious.length; i++ )
  url = delicious[i]['u'];
  title = delicious[i]['d'];
  if (! /Jon Udell:/.test(title) )
    document.write('<p class="realsmall"><a href="' + delicious[i]['u'] + 
      '">' + delicious[i]['d'] + '</a></p>');
The /Jon Udell:/ test excludes items I've written myself. I use to manage these items for my own purposes, but don't want to advertise them in this context.

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