Joe Edelman


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I'm a media ecologist. I believe the biggest opportunity on Earth is transforming the economy from one of extraction to one of personal fulfillment. This can only happen if the internet can become an articulate medium for information about our lives and desires, and if a new type of information can flow freely--information about how and whether the various choices we make are fitting into the lives we have and the lives we want. ... more

Current projects

Outcome-Aware Internet

Moving the Internet from Collective Impulse towards Collective Wisdom

Analog Cupid

Local matchmaking, with polaroids and paper-based profiles

Real World Experience Design Guild

A mentorship network for those making immersive experiences and real-world games.

Many Secret Doors

Hide conversations and songs around your neighborhood for others to find

Errant Salvage

Immersive experiences in the unlikeliest places.


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My work, cont'd

The questions I've been asking the longest are: (1) Why don't we experience conviviality and thoughtfulness as often as we'd like? and (2) What role does the internet and does consumer capitalism play in either helping or hindering our attempts to satisfy these kinds of desires?

I used to think our social issues were about coordination and logistics. My perspective has changed. Now, I see a growing failure of our communities and information systems to transmit signals of collective wisdom and social support adequately.

Our systems of communication, as they've scaled up, have become bad at circulating retrospective, long-term accounts about what's been of lasting value to others in similar situations. At the same time, the complex landscape of modern communication has disconnected two kinds of information that only make sense when together: information about what we might do that would be lastingly positive, and information about who we might do it with. This makes it easy to forget, as a society, what makes life happy and meaningful, and to forget as individuals how much social support we might have available if we set out to do those happy and meaningful things. The modern environment has muted transmission of key information about what is good to do and how possible it is.