For many years I had wonder when someone was going to create a place for dreams which is tasteful and about the culture of dreaming.
There was Remcloud.com which opened with much fanfare. Although still running, feels spammy and pretty crappy. All the other places I’ve seen have been more about dream dictionaries or forums about dreams. Mydreamscape was meant to be a tasteful, cleverly crafted and a social network about the culture of dreams.
Well I think someone has finally done it… lucidipedia.com feels like a serious site and seems to have some very good tutorials and tips to help you dream and remember them. There’s even an online dream diary section which seems to tick all the right boxes with dataportability and sharing features.
So I guess there is only one way to discover how good it is, yes dive in and try it out…
I’ve included the text for those who can’t be bothered to read the image.
Dreams could one day be recorded electronically, allowing them to be interpreted, scientists say. Experiments in which volunteers had electrodes surgically implanted deep inside their brains had already allowed researchers to ‘read’ people’s minds, said Dr Moran Cerf. The breakthrough could eventually lead to the development of a dream recorder, he added. ‘We would like to read people’s dreams,’ Dr Cerf said. ‘It would be wonderful to read people’s minds when they cannot communicate, such as people in comas.’
In tests on 12 epilepsy patients, electrodes recorded the activity of neurones in a part of the brain called the medial temporal lobe, which plays a major role in human memory and retention. The volunteers were shown more than 100 familiar images, such as Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson, on a screen. From these, pictures that had triggered responsive neurons in different parts of the subjects’ MTLs were selected.
The patients were then shown two of these images superimposed and told to think about one of them, while the scientists ran the neuron patterns through a decoder. When the decoded information was fed back on to the superimposed images, the one whose neuron was firing more quickly was enhanced, while the other faded.
By watching this online feedback, more than two-thirds of subjects were able to make their targeted image completely visible and entirely eliminate the other picture. By observing which brain cells lit up and when, Dr Cerf and his US colleagues, Christof Koch and Itzhak Fried, said they were in effect able ‘read the subjects’ minds’. The study is published in the journal Nature.
Once again, I really need to get mydreamscape up and running…
I am amazed at how much detail she got down in the session, its a perfect account of what was said and by who. Her hand must have been going into over drive!
A couple of people ask great questions about privacy and how easy the network will be to spam.
The points raised range from deciding to keep users anonymous to encourage people to share their dreams in detail to wondering how to stop the spammer that ‘keeps dreaming about ‘Coca-cola’ or Justin Bieber(!)
Adrian Slatcher (@adrianslatcher on Twitter) from Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA), added some fine observations about dreams being non-linear.
Some people make associations in dreams based on colour, so called ‘colour dreams’. There are also ‘anxiety’ dreams. There is a very strong metaphysical element to dreams.
Adrian went on to add that this ‘crowd-sourced’ emotional categorisation of dreams: ‘anxiety = red’, ‘peace = green’ etc lends itself to making such a social network a very useful psychoanalysis tool.
She also detailed a great conversation we had afterwards with Josh (@technicalfault) about a killer mobile app for mydreamscape
In a conversation with Ian and Social Media Cafe co-organiser Josh (@technicalfault) after his talk, we discussed what I think is the killer application for such a project: a mobile phone app that combines access with the social network with a dream diary linked to the phone’s alarm clock.
As soon as you wake up, you are prompted to record your dream into a ‘What did you dream today?’ interface rather like Twitter’s early ‘What are you doing?’ question.
Different media types could be introduced later on so people would eventually make voice or video recordings of their dreams. That would rock.
I love the idea of asking the question, “what did you dream today?” or even “what did you dream last night?” Its a very catchy punchline and sums up the project nicely. The Flickr of dreams say one thing but “what did you dream today?” says something very different.
The point keeps coming up, why not make a facebook application? And finally I had a reply
People have suggested Ian should implement the idea as a Facebook app. He’s not particularly keen on this, preferring the Flickr model as “Flickr never exposes private stuff.”
Facebook’s EULA makes mydreamscape unworkable or at least cuts right into the users privicy which would make trusting the system almost impossible. Flickr have a good model as they never expose users private data and never will. Hence “the flickr of dreams” tag line.
I’ve presented at barcampmanchester3 and now at Social Media cafe manchester and each time I’ve had a positive response, but raised many more questions. Some of those question have been useful but none have been no this is a terriable idea. In actually fact I’ve picked up a few people who really want to get involved along the way. Each person has offered some advice and some more passion into the general idea. I think my next step is to do a map for the idea (a masssive A0 sheet of endless paper with information about the idea and details which I currently have in tomboynotes). I can then publish the map and make it even easier for people to develop the idea themsleves. Its also handy to have everything on one sheet, so I can put everything in context. This presentation isn’t really explaining the idea very well and does a bit of deservice to the underlying idea. I really hope to change for something better soon. But for now it explains the concept enough…
I love Inception, there’s no doubt about that….
But what really got me going was the idea of dreams.
So here’s the background
Everyone has dreams but up till now dreams have been very personal. People have them and talk about them all the time to there close friends but up till now its not been something you share socially. Well I say that but actually people do share aspects of there dreams. For example
collinbeballin: I have had so many bad dreams tonight that they have left me praying. And thats some real shit.
PatRobeck1ofHis: Goodnight, my friends. Dream good dreams!
ohhdarylann: if love is a way out, then please let me in. don’t start, darling, don’t you turn my nightmares into dreams once again
Natbat: Woke at 5am with panicked dreams. can’t sleep. wonder if I should just get up and have breakfast now. hungry
So we share aspects of them with friends, family and even total strangers.
mydreamscape.org to become the flickr of dreams.
Make dreams social with controls so only certain people can see the parts you don’t want to disclose. Use social tagging to add relevance and additional metadata to the dreams.
The concept in more words
Why not have a place where you can share your aspects of your dreams with other people and of course perform analysis on your dreams?
When I say aspects of your dreams, I mean just that. You should be able to add levels of privacy around aspects of your dream. Bit like how flickr.com only shows you certain photos if your a friend or family. I expect this would be quite difficult to do but it should give you the option of defining certain aspects which are public, private and of course who can see that. Hey would you want your girlfriend to find out you have dreams about a ex-girlfriend every night?
So I expect the gui for that would generate some special but simple xml (I’m thinking about using a subset of XML encryption to hide the information in plain sight) . I imagine it would look something like the modern editors such as Etherpad (colored text to indicate who can see what) but there would be levels of access to tied to the information.
dreams tend to have some sort of structure but its not very defined but there’s no doubt that you can say this is how it started (even if it’s just I’m in a room with no windows) and a middle (a woman talks to me in french which I seem to be able to understand) and a end (she gets up and leaves through a wall, leaving me in the room alone, then I wake up). It may not be clear how you got there or even how it ultimately ends but you could just say I don’t remember to that section.
Obviously there will be the ability to run your dreams through a dictionary of sorts (this may cost) so you can work out what your dream is about. But on top of that there will be tags/keywords will link you to other people’s dreams. So if your dream is about falling off a building, you can see who else has similar dream or even the same dream? Maybe you might find people who are having the same dream but with a unique twist. Heck, you might even find people who are in your dream who happen to be having the same dream! Of course Locations can also be tagged using geo locations, so you can see who else has been having a dream around a certain location. I’d also like to include Times, so you can say if it was night or day. Also people, so you can say I had a dream and he or she was in it. There may be others but that will do for now.
This is really interesting information but when socially put together across many people you got something extra special. Not only can you see trends across dreams but you can also spot how memes start to spread and where they end up.
The other part of this is the ability to write comments or add annotations to your dreams. So certain people (definable list) can add tags or link to other stuff. For example a dream about identity thief might lead back to the new itv tv series “identity” which you might have forgotten about but your friends remember you watched a couple of days ago. A dream about running down endless stairs could be the result of watching inception and thinking/dreaming about the architects role. Basically you can have many people adding analysis to your dream instead of just one so called expert. In actual fact your friends may know you better and where aspects of your dreams come from.
I expect we’ll make the data freely available in the same way Okcupid.com makes stats about its users available.
Hows it going to make money?
- Pro users – Selling access to the dream dictionary (PRO users) which won’t be a static thing, it will change based on what people say about there dreams. There may also be a limit on how many dreams we hold unless your a pro user which means its endless. Maybe also only pro users can tag other people dreams?
- Advertising – If your not a pro user, you will get adverts next to the dream your reading. We can also add advertising to the aggregated pages like the one for falling (which I expect will be quite popular)
- Trending – Although the data will be freely available, there will be different resolutions on the dream data. So if you pay you can get much richer data (obviously depending on the users preferences). I imagine you would be able to work out how many European citizens are dreaming about a certain delegate just before an election. Not only that but if those dreams or positive or negative.
- Product and locational placements – Maybe a lot of people are dreaming about a certain location or a certain product. If you own that location or product you may want to own that page and make it more like yours? So for example http://www.mydreamscape.org/items/buzzlightyear/ – could be a page about buzzlight year in dreams and have images and links to the item its self. This would also be true of locations too for example http://www.mydreamscape.org/location/europe/london/thamesbarrier – would obviously link to the Thames barrier in London with information taken from Wikipedia.org and other open sources. The information architecture of exactly how this would this work needs to be sorted out.
How am I going to build this?
Well I’m not sure. I’ve been looking at things like drupal and existing services such as Facebook to see if I can adapt there system to this purpose. But it looks like it requires some serious development as there some key elements which need work. However I expect once I post this, entry people might think wow nice idea, its got legs I might be interested in either…
- Getting involved, so we got a team of people interested
- Recommend some software or a service to set it up
- Steal the idea and build there own version (fine, but you must give me attribution)
- Steal the idea and have me help out on the build process (theres a whole lot more to this idea that what I described above, ask me if you want to know more)
- Build a plugin for another service which could supports this
The final word
There are some elements to this idea which may not work such as will people remember there dreams, will be willing to share them, etc but honestly I think its a killer of an idea and deserves to be built. You can just imagine what a resource it could turn out to be… and imagine this scenario…
“you were dreaming about me, but I was also dreaming about you. On the same bloody night? What are the chances of that?”
That would be amazing.
dreams are still very much a unknown or under-tapped process. We all have them even if we don’t always remember them. dream diaries, etc are good but what benefits could come to a dreamers dreams if there crowd-sourced or social? There is a lot of metadata we could add to our dreams, if we had the chance. We could start to really understand our dreams a lot better through the social network of our friends, families or strangers. Heck even if all else fails, it may get people thinking about dreams a lot more and considering what they can do with them. Be it control there dreams or as far as even sharing dreams.
So who wants to help me make it happen?