making emails public

ray ozzie: Imagine the field day that Google could have if 1) all email files had access controls removed, and 2) people started surfing each others’ email messages. Unrealistic, right? Well, think again. Why have we grown so accustomed to the social norm that email should be private?

this hits home for me. in 1999), i had similar ideas, and decided to give some of my friends access to my private email archives. i had an interesting discussion about the implications back then:
(me) my private section contains all my mails (or at least all i could save) from 1993 to present. its like a diary, only more frank and complete. so far, only one person besides me has access. i may give you access some day, but not yet.

(her) somehow this scares me. i fear that i may could do something that could destroy that fine construct of our friendship and would tear it down. this went on too fast. give me access to your personnel diary? you did even think about it a few minutes? i AM overwhelmed. in my diary are my deepest thoughts written down. not all off them, because some things are not to be held anywhere – some things will always stay in your mind. but there are things that nobody knows…..

in retrospect, the time was not yet ripe for that experiment back then. neither were there tools to discover interesting content (no google), nor was the narrative form of the blog widely known. i believe that people have become more accepting of trading in some of their privacy in exchange for other benefits. it has become acceptable to share with the world, and this process will only continue from its modest roots (“i had cereals for breakfast today” no shit!) towards more meaningful exchanges.
i have been archiving my email in IMAP for years (100 MB and growing), and it would be relatively easy to make some IMAP folders browsable and searchable from within my blog. this would be one more facet of the personal CMS, a concept that has been taking shape in my thoughts recently.

A personal CMS gives a unified interface to a users thoughts (weblog), his emails (IMAP web mail), his contacts, his schedules (Web PIM) and also his files. The personal CMS supports the discovery of information within the personal data of a user by offering pervasive rss feeds, deep searches and extensive hyperlinking.