Thoughts on the Walled Garden

Last week I attended the conference Walled Garden that found place in the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam. Organized by the foundation Virtueel Platform. A very interesting topic as far as I’m concerned; I even presented a talk on Reboot last year on the same topic.

What is the Walled Garden? As the organization it puts:

WALLED GARDEN will address issues of identity, mobile communities and networks by focussing on the tendency towards online gated and closed communities. How does this affect the (in)accessibility of information and knowledge?

So what is future of communities in social media. As the networks become more popular and the use more personal, will we close then our community? And what kind of organization will emerge out of it?

The conference was divided in some plenary sessions and in depth workgroup sessions on of the aspects of the Walled Garden. My workgroup discussed about the future of cultural organizations, with aim to come up with a model for an organization that act completely in a virtual environment.

What did I think of the conference?

I was not disappointed with the thoughts and inspiration I gained of the two days. Those came especially out of the discussions in the workshop, although the walled garden was far away a lot of the time. I was however disappointed in the level of the plenary sessions. At this moment, two days later, I can’t hardly remember a thing, besides of the insane running ladies in the virtual world There. But I think Virtual Worlds are far from relevant anymore.

It makes no sense to try to report on the sessions in detail – and the reporters will do that better than I can on the conference site – but I like to share some quotes I found worth mindmapping (see image below).

  • the walled garden is about the links between
  • the web is as fast food browsing
  • the personal computer becomes less personal
  • you need the ownership of the content to be possible to share
  • in an organization you need to make it possible to move documents, make decisions, create things, build groups and account the use
  • alternative reality games as inspiration. Non-linear narratives that use multimedia. Remixing reality.



Concluding I have to say that the conference did not completely meet my expectations in finding new insights on the walled garden.
But none and the less I had a good time, meet some nice people and got enough inspiration to make it the time worth while. For the good discussion on the emerging walled garden I should look somewhere else.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Walled Garden”

  1. indeed the conference showed that it’s hard access knowledge when there’s not enough that bonds the seperate workgroup-findings. Maybe it needs time to consume 8x2days of thoughts.. but isn’t that exactly what we want the network to solve..the flower experiment concluded that they at least should stay connected..the conclusions from our working group show above all a really nice mindmapping tool:

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