Thursday, October 28, 2004


Via Lilia Efimova, this quote from Ross Mayfield:

"Where the bottom-up and top-down meet -- middlespace -- is the realm of policy, metrics, incentives, cooperation and sharing control."

I like this term, it's a nice way of looking at the messy area that is all about stimulating interactions (be they collaboration, co-operation or communication), but also about the governance and control issues that go with them. Having spent a portion of today writing a set of Terms & conditions for our intranet bulletin board system, I've had fun with just what messy territory it can be. Having checked with Legal and Information Security teams, I'm looking to engage what I call "controlled freedom" (oxymoronic, eh?) - which I now realise is middlespace, the hinterland (or is that tweenerland?) in between allowing more direct communication in the enterprise (making sure that initial enthusiasm is retained), and ensuring that this stays within boundaries acceptable to the enterprise itself...oh, and of course, delivers benefits to the enterprise, its formal departments and groups, the individual worker and any Communities of Practice. It's actually a neat representation of the conundrum posed by Jesse James Garrett's Venn diagram of Content, Context, Users (which I thought was in "The Elements of User Experience" but which appears not to be on a quick flick-through) - how do you satisfy this middlespace of competing needs, how do you hit the sweetspot?

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