Card Sessions: Social Computing

John Kellden
11 min readDec 5, 2020


In a network, social information.

There can be data, information, knowledge, stories, context, understanding and even wisdom transmitted through networks, and from finding ourselves in networks.

Chat: Place; Cards:Insight; Tokens: Dashboard; DKR: Curation

Problem is, it’s all been highjacked. We need different and better social machines, augmenting intelligence in service to preferable outcomes.

Big Data is The Waste Land
⁠Whether shared misery (fb) or borderline solipsist pontifications (twitter),
big data is one of the euphemisms of Grand Theft Data.

In order to make it through to equitable societies, we need innovations in narrative and metaphor, co-evolving with different social machines.

Innovations in Narrative and Metaphor

1. Divesting from proprietary platform programming, with divesting from like button clicking as both task and generative review.

2. Divesting from social media hedging, with movement from information-centric to interaction-centric online behavior as both attention turned situational awareness and generative review.

3. Understanding social social media in a context of social cognition, augmented by different social machines, individual, small group genius and social collective intelligence as review, story, tasks and generative review.

All these three levels of game^n are services and apps.

In a network, services are contextual intelligence, emerging and evolving in the intersects of boundary objects and knowledge commons, as a function of (complex adaptive (epistemic cuts)) structures and (complex responsive) processes (information ecologies in a context of relational meaning-making).

One example innovation of formats, card sessions:

Format: Card Session
Cards considered in light of questions.

Function: Tangibles
Turning intangibles (human knowing) into tangibles (card annotations, recorded card sessions)

Flow: Understanding

The boundary object of flow is understanding.

Structure: Boundary objects

Process: Metalogue

Metalogue is

  • any and all forms of conversations, in between situational awareness and preferable outcomes
  • meaning-making-moving-with
  • information flows, exchanges and ecologies in a context of relational meaning-making
  • over time, the patterning that re-connects and re-aligns

Metalogue is also the awareness, situational awareness, cognition and social cognition necessary and sufficient for engaging in any and all forms of complex responsive processes, that together with all corresponding dynamic adaptable structures are conducive to, co-extensive and co-extending with and co-evolving with flow.

flow = structure x process

understanding = boundary objects x metalogues

Social Machines
Social machines are platforms, places, playgrounds and wise playgrounds, with formats and layers augmenting intelligence and evolving with human evolution.

Social Computing
Social computing is individual, small group genius and social collective intelligence, augmented by and in, social machines.

Card: Social Machine

⁠A combination of structures,
⁠processes and flows where
⁠humans perform creative
⁠work and machines provide
⁠administration, access and

Social Machines: Intersects of Intelligence and Augmentation.

Boundary Objects, microDKR’s and Social Machines

Personally, I would prefer to add five and only five books, books performing as microDKR’s, to a Social Machine.

Each of the five books, catering to process, flow, structure, function and agency, respectively.

Meaning-making = Process x Flow x Structure x Function x Agency

Card: Meaning-making
Information in a context of relational meaning-making.

Card: Meaning-making
How people think, relate, do and experience as they relate to their environments.

Card: Making
However, it might be a good idea to gather around a good enough meaning-making book as well, for a good enough beginning understanding. Eg Making, Tim Ingold.

DKR: How many books?
For reasons of nuance, requisite variety and distributed intelligence, it might be good to add a couple of thousand books more.

I am mostly against throwing in the entire dbpedia into the Social Machine, primarily because there’s no way of knowing if that actually serves our needs.

Social Cognition guiding our Social Machines

Card: Social Cognition
The intelligence turned ability
to understand ourselves and
other people beyond our
personal ken is at the
heart of social cognition.

…beyond our personal ken, at the heart of social cognition.

Card: Social Cognition
The intelligence turned ability to understand ourselves and other people beyond our personal ken is at the heart of social cognition.

Boundary Object: Social Cognition
Boundary objects are those things and artifacts that improves both by shared understanding and different interpretations when in use.

Patterning: Social Cognition

“The ability to understand something before it’s
observed is at the heart of scientific thinking.”
— Carlo Rovelli, The Order of Time

Social Machines at Our Social Individual and Collective Intelligence Service
Intelligence turned ability; ability to wisely wend, wield and world in service to seven generations. Adding gargantuan amounts of data and information, almost invariably end up with our believing that big and extractive is better.
If anything, our individual loss of agency and our growing ecosystems awareness should have made it abundantly clear by now, what a dangerous belief this is.

Policy: Platform, Place, Playground, Wise Playground
Anything less than exemplary beliefs and behavior, will always result in less than stellar policy design, and thus, not only suboptimal policies, but entrenched (power-over) positions, around the designing of policy.

Implementation turned eudaimonic and ecosystemic practice
Extending select parts of our 4E, 9E cognition selves, online; virtuereal homesteading; zoom meetings guided by relational meaning-making.

Code: Languages and Technologies
The diagram diagonal: allocation of resources as a function of intelligence augmentation, ability acknowledgement and agency tokenization.

Labs and Information Ecologies in service to preferable outcomes.

Being At Home In The World: A Lab With 8bn In Mind
Currently, physics is an attempt at explaining too much and too little.

We can rediscover superset foundations and build differently, arriving at preferable outcomes.

One of the preferable outcomes is being at home in the world, having a cup of coffee and solving a particularly challenging sudoku.

Would you like a cup of coffee?
In order to make sure there’s a cup of coffee offered to guests around the table, there needs to be a vibrant planet-wide system of ecosystems, where coffee growers and other Gaia stewards are continuously cultivating between how people think and how nature works.

In order to make sure there’s an ever replenishing source of sudoku available, there needs to be both a seven generations understanding, and room for human ingenuity in the here and now.

Joint Sauntering and Craftsmanship
Along our way to the building sites, we are to help each other with shared understanding, that we know when we arrive at the site, what architecture and design rules and guidelines, and what room for ingenuity and craftsmanship, allowing scope for action to be precisely fine-tuned in relation to the exigencies of the situation at hand.

Card Deck: Information in a context of relational meaning-making.

Corner of Labs and Card Sessions
Labs are to innovation, what card sessions are to patterns of relationship, interaction, play and play^n.

Cards: Social Computing Interface
Language is UI. Conversation is UX. Cards are social computing interface.
The places enveloping our interfaces are confluences of relational modeling and ecological niches where we find ourselves and others.

“Technology is the active human interface with the material world.

But the word is consistently misused to mean only the enormously complex and specialised technologies of the past few decades, supported by massive exploitation both of natural and human resources.

This is not an acceptable use of the word. “Technology” and “hi tech” are not synonymous, and a technology that isn’t “hi,” isn’t necessarily “low” in any meaningful sense.

We have been so desensitized by a hundred and fifty years of ceaselessly expanding technical prowess that we think nothing less complex and showy than a computer or a jet bomber deserves to be called “technology “ at all. As if linen were the same thing as flax — as if paper, ink, wheels, knives, clocks, chairs, aspirin pills, were natural objects, born with us like our teeth and fingers — as if steel saucepans with copper bottoms and fleece vests spun from recycled glass grew on trees, and we just picked them when they were ripe…

One way to illustrate that most technologies are, in fact, pretty “hi,” is to ask yourself of any manmade object, Do I know how to make one?

Anybody who ever lighted a fire without matches has probably gained some proper respect for “low” or “primitive” or “simple” technologies; anybody who ever lighted a fire with matches should have the wits to respect that notable hi-tech invention.

I don’t know how to build and power a refrigerator, or program a computer, but I don’t know how to make a fishhook or a pair of shoes, either. I could learn. We all can learn. That’s the neat thing about technologies. They’re what we can learn to do.”
Ursula K. Le Guin

Card Sessions
Card sessions can be seen and understood as place, characterized by shared, sharable context. The generative review of card sessions, is knowledge. Knowledge, in service to alignment around shared purpose and common good. A significant part of all card sessions, are premised on social computing. Building on that premise, cards provide an interactive interface between human meaning-making and social machine designs, in service to knowledge creation.

Cards: Social computing interface.

Social Computing
Social computing is information processing and information sharing, in service to individual and collective knowledge cultivation and knowledge flows. Knowledge cultivation is what goes in inside your social field, whether tribal, institutional or business, and knowledge flows is what emerges, unfolds and evolves, inside, outside and at the boundaries and intersects of your social fields and your circles of concern, influence and interest.

“Social Computing” refers to systems that support the gathering, representation, processing, use, and dissemination of information that is distributed across social collectivities such as teams, communities, organizations, and markets. Moreover, the information is not “anonymous” but is significantly precise because it is linked to people, who are in turn linked to other people.”

More recently, and thus still with a large degree of growing pains (finite and infinite games at various scales, partially overlapping), our extending select parts of our (embodied) selves online, through digital means, and our processing select parts of both networks and digital networks, is to a large extent premised on social behavior, whether tribal, institutional, market and/or network dynamic oriented. What outcomes, our games?

Interactive creation of knowledge.

Social Computing, take five (D. Brubeck ref.)

103% of the reason Why Labs, is because they provide secluded temporary environments facilitating a confluence of people, knowledge, practices, media and situational awareness.

If we go back in time to the Vienna Coffee Shops, we didn’t need to call them Labs —The Quantum Physicists met and engaged. The rest is history.

These days, we have invented Massively Multiplayer Weapons of Mass Distraction called “social media” — and — we are no longer willing, nor able to meet at Vienna Coffee Shops — so we need Labs, and lots of them.

— But, but, we’ve got Zoom Sessions?
— Hahahahahahahahah :::spitting coffee::: hahahahahah!!!

Oh, sorry about that, where were we? Ah, Labs…

Labs and Flow Affordances

1. Information Processing

2. Emergence and Insights; Insights and Emergence

3. Signal Processing

That’s it. That’s Labs.

Social Computing and Signal Processing

Here’s a great primer on Signal Processing, great because Alfred North Whitehead.

1. Review
Avoiding understanding Alfred North Whitehead in order to remain comfortably ensconced inside your own fave shared misery. Until you no longer avoid understanding and start divesting from whatever is keeping you from cultivating your full story.

2. Story

Creative Impulse = Importance x Expression x Understanding

The content is 103% Alfred North Whitehead, the equation, with

“x” = patterning,

is my tweak. Most everything ANW has written, lends itself quite handsomely to math.

3. Tasks
Before you do anything:

behavior > feedback > agency

103% of all human problems originates from mindless behavior. Please be like divest. Thank you. Now — tasks:

Activity = Perspective x Forms of Process x Civilized Universe

No, seriously, that covers 103% of all tasks.

4. Generative Review
Since generative sequences is half art (human imagination) and half social machine (human social collective intelligence augmentation and social computing imagineering), the generativity and regenerativity almost always needs to be premised.

Civilized Universe is a good enough premise.

I do have more anchored versions available, should you need them
(Cards, Card Decks, Card Sessions, Labs).

Nature and Life = Nature Lifeless x Nature Alive

The whole thing in a nutshell:

…review, story, tasks, generative review…

5. Nature and Life
What cards were you dealt by the Universe? How is your play^n?

Card: Enkinaesthesia
This card is 103% about your immersing yourself, as negotiated through your own umwelt, with nature and life.

Card: Synkinaesthesia
This card is 103% about the unfolding vector through nature and life, to the enkinaesthetic field.

Social Machines, Social Computing, Social Social Media and Human Social Collective Intelligence

The Social Machine that can be designed based on the above take on ANW, could work similar to Twitter, with one significant difference.

On twitter, most everyone else in the Social Machine, simply doesn’t give one flying eff about you.

The ANW Social Machine (provisional naming) would be designed to serve you.

Initial training via your own choice smorgasbord of microDKR’s.

Think Boundary Objects, co-evolving with your Story and your Projects.

Essentially, you doing Your Thing, and the Social Machine figuring out most of the complex stuff around the networks, graphs and circles.

Already at a couple of thousand members and participants, it would work better than all existing platforms. There’s a working prototype DKR over at CMM.

Social Information: Projects and Boundary Objects

The Shu Ha Ri of Project Management

1. Shu: School of Hard Knocks

Doing things. Surveys and Gantt Charts as blunt instruments. Managing as taking hostages in order to getting things done.

2. Ha: Projects as if by Design

Doing gatherings. Although Jorge Luis Borges applies, more often than most of us think. Managing as systems governance.

3. Ri: The Art of the Possible

Doing thinks. The Pursuit of the Adjacent Possible Possibility Space. Managing as understanding preferable outcomes.

Social Behavior

“…eff should I care?”

All these different orientations results in patterns of interaction:

  • trolling, pre-tribal patterns of interaction
  • in-group, tribal patterns of tribe interactions, reinforcing patterns of play
  • filter bubbles, institutionalised communication, often resulting in excluding non-institution stakeholders (see what I did there, adding the word “stakeholder”)
  • marketing and persuasion, social behavior, gamed and swayed by market dynamics
  • network dynamics, shared interest graphs, as a superset of social graphs
  • convivial human agents, extending select parts of themselves as part of their individuation

Life and signs: overlapping, at oblique angles, adjacent possible, all informing our human (informed, knowledgeable) behavior


In a network, knowledge, scaffolding our information processing.

In order to find ourselves in, extend select parts of ourselves to, and navigate networks, we need to cultivate knowledge both in ourselves and learning how to hold place for knowledge residing in others.

card sessions as place, characterized
by shared sharable context

Social Computing: Premise

“The premise of ‘Social Computing’ is that it is possible to design digital systems that support useful functionality by making socially produced information available to their users.”

As our knowledge unfolds, grows and evolves through our networking, we go through stages of muddling through, understanding(un-muddling) and reframing, growing increasingly capable to process information, weaving life(activities, processes) and signs(meaning-making, structures) forming lines of inquiry: co-extensive, co-extending, cultivating, evolving and becoming.


The generative review of social computing, is individual, social and collective human meaning-making. Information in a context of knowledge cultivation, knowledge flows in a context of human and nature dialogue. Our metalogue, a meaning-making-moving-with: enkinaesthesia.

Social computing is enkinaesthesia affordance, though often through a social behavior darkly.



John Kellden

Cards catalyzing stories, Conversations that mind and matter, Digital communities and collaborative narratives