I'm here in Barcelona documenting the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival on the Future of Learning, Freedom and the Web as a follow-up to my book DIY U. There are all kinds of innovators and hackers here from David Wiley, one of the godfathers of open educational content, to Joi Ito of Creative Commons and Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's chief lizard wrangler. I got into a great conversation this afternoon with Gabriel Shalom, a young filmmaker who just completed a film called The Future of Money. It features interviews with a fascinating group of young social entrepreneurs who are attempting to create networks where social currency can replace the paper kind—like Flattr and Giftflow. Many participants were interviewed over Skype, sitting in their bedrooms, and the whole thing was thrown together with $6000 raised from a large group of donors.
"There's this whole parallel economy based on trust, transparency, and open data," says Shalom, pointing to phenomena like couchsurfing, coworking, community gardens and hackerspaces as real world examples. For Shalolm, openness about who you are is linked to getting what you want. "What we're looking at creating are data nudist colonies: whole groups of people being transparent and attaining a new level of happiness and comfort," he says. "If you are open about what you have, what you need, what you can do, who you know, you start to generate a kind of digital profile that is very rich in potential value." Rather than allow a company like Facebook to make billions by monetizing our identity and our social graph, citizens of the networked utopia should be able to benefit from these assets directly. It's a heady idea and likely to appeal to a lot of Millennials who are richer in friends, time, and passion than in cash.