Years ago I watched the Never Ending Story. The premise of the film was about keeping our dreams and stories alive and that without stories and dreams our world would be a not so pretty place. This was back in the 80s jump to today and we have the internet and there are lots of places on the net where people tell stories espouse ideas and showcase achievements. Social networking has and continues to create vast amounts of data and brings out some of the most creative ideas imaginable. One site authored by Dr. Andrew Nelson is being built with the idea to become a focal point for bringing together ideas dreams and stories together and then putting them into action. Brainspace.me is set to launch at the end of this month and to talk more about the idea behind the project I contacted it's creator Dr. Andrew Nelson.
Cliff T.: Dr. Nelson thank you for writing back to Candid Conversations. Can you explain what Brainspace is about?
Dr. Nelson: Hi Cliff, thanks for your interest in the project. Brainspace.me is essentially aimed at providing a personal space for people to think and create and record their own thoughts, ideas, life stories and dreams. It occurred to us that many of the social networking spaces rely heavily on people interacting with others in short twitter like grabs, rather than providing a space just for yourself to play and think and develop your ideas. As you say, story telling and the ability to share stories is a core part of how we all learn from each other. The Brainspace.me site seeks to provide a unique and private place to develop and record your thoughts and then to make some of them available to other members or even the general public. Combined with some really unique tools to help you link and explore your own musings and make connections to other peoples thoughts, it will provide a way to connect with other people based on a thought or idea rather than just an overly used and often abused friends list!
Brainspace.me has two distinct parts, the Personal Journal space mentioned above and the World Compendia of thoughts, ideas, stories and dreams. The Compendia provides a space to store the best of the information you have developed in the personal space. It is designed to provide a central database where we can record and share our personal stories, ideas and thoughts. A registry if you like, a central place where we can all share the benefits of each others knowledge and ideas. It is not a blog space, or a forum, rather it is a place for people to store their knowledge and ideas for others to explore interactively online or for research or educational or news bodies to have access to information in a database format. Of course we have designed it to strictly protect the privacy of contributors while giving them a place to record date, location and contact details. it’s a free space, but a secure place.
Cliff T.: there are many outlets for people to go to to express ideas dreams and stories, what are you going to do with this portal to get your head above the crowd, so to speak?
Dr. Nelson: Yes, it’s a crowded space already. The major difference with the Brainspace.me project is that it is all about you! We provide the space to play and explore your own mind and then to choose what you wish to share with others. We see it as a place where you visit every day, like a diary or personal journal, a place where you can make direct links to all your other web activities. It is designed to act like a hub which provides space to add notes and links to other sites like Facebook, or Twitter or YouTube or your favorite blogs. We provide the tools like an online word processor where you can add pictures or video clips or text.
You can essentially make and post your own web pages with its own URL link if you like and show them off to others using all the rich media available today on the net. We think we have simplified the process of putting information together in a form that uses the best of the web tools.
Apart from the many writing tools on Brainspace.me you can also use it to record a series of bookmarks on a topic, make notes on them and store them for later use. You can make links between one thought or idea and another and then explore them interactively, thereby creating over time a personal web of connections that can consist of just text or media and links to other sites or other peoples thoughts. We found that most of the other blog site software and social networking sites make you conform to their way of interacting.
On Brainspace.me. you are fully in control of the space, of what you record on whatever topic and what you choose to share. You can turn the public view on or off at any time. It is a private personal space just for you, but it is also a powerful public space that allows you to control what you share.
Cliff T.: Do you anticipate or want to find the next Albert Einstein or someone akin to that or is this site designed to bring out the extraordinary in the ordinary?
Dr. Nelson: Well, rather than the next Einstein, I think we hope to find or uncover unique possible solutions to problems or issues that we all face, whether they be social, community, personal, political or technological. To use our catch phrase “We believe, every person has at least one idea, story, wish or dream that could change the world” Too many good ideas or valuable personal stories are lost in the great web void, buried in a blog or forum post never to be seen again and often buried with comment threads that go way off topic. We know we will get a lot of junk, that’s the nature of the web, but we also know that true gems and pearls are waiting to be revealed and shared. That is our mission, that is the core reason for providing this space.
Cliff T.: What kinds of things are you looking for from people or to put it another way what do you expect to find as you compile data in the compendiums on Brainspace.me?
Dr. Nelson: The personal journal space is private and protected, so what you choose to store there or how you choose to use it is entirely up to the individual. What you choose to share with others is also entirely up to the users. But, using our unique interactive key links you will be able to explore, both your own minds thoughts and others too if they link with you. I expect to see and read and explore some exciting journeys and thought threads that will lead to many ideas I would not normally associate together. If used on mass it has the potential to create a completely new way of searching on the web, a search by connected association, not a replacement to traditional searches but a powerful extra tool that simply does not exist today.
The World Compendia is rather more easy to predict. The 4 databases suggest the type of material we will accept in each category. Thoughts, Ideas, Stories, Dreams. The last one being quite unique, in that it will only accept actual dreams you have had. Why? We found there is no place that forms a human dream record, no place where people can record the content, symbols, date and locations associated with a dream experience. You may think, who cares? But it occurred to us that without such a database, it is impossible to see commonalities or connections or synchronicities between what each person dreams and when. A dream map of the human subconscious if you like. It may hold only limited value to a few dream researchers, but, when you think that every person dreams and that some dreams leave a lasting impact, it seemed obvious to us that this part of the human subconscious and imagination needed a place to be recorded.
In regard to the other areas. Thoughts is a place to express yourself, a place to have your say on almost any topic. Ideas, is a section to place more well thought out concepts, a new plan or method or invention that solves or addresses a problem or issue, a better way of doing something.
Stories, is a place to record your own personal experiences that you think may be of benefit to others. This is my favorite, as I think, in this modern age of controlled and filtered media fed to us in short bites, we too often miss out on hearing so many personal accounts. Sure there are blogs, but many people have just one of two stories to share and making their own blog is too much time and effort. Passing on information in the form of personal experiences or short accounts is fundamental to human society and personal development. Mass media has to some extent robbed us of personal diversity, tending to put everything into its own box.. like the news stations, ‘the good news story for the day’ ‘the sports section’ the ‘local’ or ‘world’ news sections as if that is all there is. Many stories do not fit to mould, or cross several categories and never make it to our eyes. This part of the Compendia will thrive by its diversity. It will provide a place for journalists to seek new stories and for users to read others accounts and post their own. A very powerful space indeed and of great benefit to us all.
Cliff T.: Dr. Nelson some might say you are searching for utopia in a world that is not so utopian, what is your thoughts about that?
Dr. Nelson: Hahaha, yes I’m a utopian to the core! I do not stand back from that label, save with one caveat. The Only ideas that succeed are the ones which have at least one foot planted firmly in common understanding, acceptance and practicality. Brainspace.me may seem utopian, but it has a highly practical base. A personal journal is a well and long understood concept, the desire to record and share information is core to our nature, witness all the forums and blogs etc… Brainspace.me is about making that process easier, more accessible. Once you see the simplicity and power of having your own space, with virtually no learning curve, a place where within seconds you can start recording or exploring an idea. A place that doesn’t take away from your usual activities, a place that actually adds to and enhances them, then you will see that Utopian ideas can have pragmatic outcomes, they can be a goal with practical results, not just an ultimate illusory destination.
Cliff T.: Overall what kind of reaction have you been getting to the project?
Dr. Nelson: Well, I can’t say we have had anything but good feedback so far. I think some of the positive reasons we have heard about are because it is providing a ‘cloud’ space accessible from any web capable device that is available 24/7 ie that you don’t need to be on your own computer to access all your personal information. Also that it is designed as a personal space first and foremost, and ironically, many people have said they are tired of being thrust into people’s ‘friends lists’, that they would prefer to have a private space where they could interact on their own and not expose themselves to everyone on their friends list but still have the options of sharing parts of their Brainspace with others.
Cliff T.: What prompted you to build the site?
Dr. Nelson: I have worked in the industry since it began way back in the late eighties, I developed 3d media and interactive techniques and when the web came online and was accepted by the public, like many people, my consultancy requests also changed. I spent a lot of my time writing course structures and lecturing at Universities in interactive digital media and effects, through all that time I saw many sites like Live Journal, MySpace and Facebook develop. While interested in the phenomenal growth of these type of social networking sites, I was always left thinking that the friends aspect tended to dominate, rather than the actual content. Of course this can have many positive benefits, but there are many negative ones too, rather than be a personal space, it becomes a very public and exposed space. I wanted to create the reverse, a safe place, where information could be shared or not and a place that didn’t rely on you having hundreds of so called ‘friends’ to make it seem successful or worthy of your time and efforts.
On top of this, being a medical doctor, having also been involved in media and teaching, having made documentaries and been involved with the film and tv business, I saw that so many ideas and stories never see the light of day. I wanted to change that, I wanted to create a way to make the story or idea the core to why people connected or interacted with each other rather than an often superficial ‘friends list’. We thrive by our ideas and thought and stories. I thought it was time to create a more intelligent space for social networking and interaction on the net.
Cliff T.: Besides adding to the data base what other things will users be able to do on Brainspace.me?
Dr. Nelson: Ah, we have fantastic plans! The new key linking search and explore facility is prime to the tools currently being developed. The beta release is set for the end of this month. We will be allowing users to come in and try out the basic facilities and features and to give us feedback on what they like and what they don’t etc…. These sort of sites are always ‘a work in progress’ . The key linking will allow you to link one aspect or record to another and provide an easy navigation facility to explore those connections, a bit like a browser for your mind! It will also allow you to link to other peoples records(minds), if they chose to make them viewable to members or the public.
Another exciting part of the project is a 3D virtual reality simulator space, that will allow members to log in and get access to their own records in a 3D space, to meet with others there and share their material. I’m hoping this space will provide a 3D world island where the World Compendia could be accessible as if being in a real world library. We have this currently under development and it will only be available to members. This may not appeal to everyone but, it adds a unique aspect and way of people interacting around the world in a common environment. We are hoping this will form the core to the social networking aspects of the project. Rather than meeting friends through text boxes, you will be able to meet up in full 3D with full voice and text chat facilities.
Cliff T.: Dr. Nelson can you give us a bit of a history behind this project?
Dr. Nelson: The project started in 2009. It is privately funded at this stage. I took off time from my lecturing and media consultancy business to devote to getting this project off the ground. We are aiming to keep it free for users if we can and have spent a lot of our time looking for potential funding sources to complete the build and keep it going. This is not at all easy and costs can escalate very quickly when traffic and use gets high. We are at the point now where we need investors, partners and supporters to become involved to allow it to proceed in the way it deserves. The project is designed as a true benefit to the world community and as such it will only succeed if it gains popular support.
My own involvement will continue as long as I can afford to spend the time. The project has actually been in very slow development since I wrote some personal journal software back in the early nineties that uses the key linking system. I designed that package called ‘The Seed’ for my patients to use, as a means of them recording their symptoms, thoughts, feelings and even dreams. The idea being to provide a record that could be shared with the doctor. The rise of the internet kind of superseded the old interactive CD concept and I had long wanted to re invent a new version for the web. Due to other work commitments it was only possible to find the time in the past year.
Cliff T.:I noticed that you also have a book called the Nelson Dream Base, is the project an extension of this work?
Dr. Nelson: Direct links: (if you want to link them to the sites mentioned below)
Facebook app page
Yes, the ebook available on Amazon or through Smashwords has the current compilation of dream words and meanings assembled for use in the online interactive dreamers dictionary on the site. I compiled the dictionary over the last 10 or 15 years and it is updated every so often. It is not designed to tell the direct meaning of people’s dreams, rather it is designed to show common interpretations for certain actions and symbols in dreams. Dream dictionaries have gone out of favor in general psychology but, I felt a need to at least publish some of the commonly used terms and possible associations, its aim is simply to provoke thought in order to help you to find your own meanings rather than to give one distinct meaning. It’s entries are taken from widely diverse views from Jung, Freud, Pagan, etc… We have published it simply to provide some small financial support for the site and its operations.
Cliff T.: Dr. Nelson I appreciate the fact that you took the time to speak with me today. I wish you the best as you continue to build on the Brainspace.me project, when do you plan to have the site fully launched?
Dr. Nelson: Thanks for your interest Cliff, we greatly appreciate it. The beta release is due end of October. We will be accepting people to join as members and to start using the facilities while we upgrade the site over the next 6 months. We welcome people to come and get involved and to help us improve it, also to help us get the word out. The net is a very big place these days and it’s hard without massive funding to get a site noticed by the masses. There is a Facebook app and page too, Every bit helps. I hope that your excellent personal interview blog will begin to find many people from Brainspace.me worthy of interview too in the future. We all have a story to tell for anyone with ears to listen. The world is not made of leaders and stars, it’s made of all the experiences of people with a story to tell. Let’s share our Brainspace!
Cliff T.: Excellent again best of success to you and the site and again thank you for stopping in to chat on Candid Conversations.
Dr. Andrew Nelson is the creator of Brainspace.me a comprehensive data base and free site where people can share stories dreams and ideas. The site will launch at the end of October. Dr. Nelson has also authored the Nelson Dream Base. He wrote to Candid Conversations from somewhere in cyberspace.