Maxim Weinstein responded in an email to my post about what the social
structure of the Internet looked like before Facebook, making the insightful
point that Facebook meets the four criteria Clay Shirky listed for social
software in his 2003 keynote at eTech. Here are the four with Max’s
1. Provide for persistent identities so that reputations can accrue. These
identities can of course be pseudonyms.
2. Provide a way for members’ good work to be recognized. < "Like" buttons,
3. Put in some barriers to participation so that the interactions become
high-value. < have to accept friend requests
4. As the site’s scale increases, enable forking, clustering, useful
fragmentation. < pages
Max goes on to note some nuances. But his comment, plus a discussion
yesterday with Andrew Preater, a library technologist at the Imperial College
of London, ma... (more)
This week there were two out-of-the-park posts by Berkman folk: Ethan
Zuckerman on advertising as the Net’s original sin, and Zeynep Tufecki on
the power of the open Internet as demonstrated by coverage of the riots in
Ferguson. Each provides a view on whether the Net is a failed promise. Each
is brilliant and brilliantly written.
Zeynep on Ferguson
Zeynep, who has written with wisdom and insight on the role of social media
in the Turkish protests (e.g., here and here), looks at how Twitter brought
the Ferguson police riots onto the national agenda and how well Twitter
Ethan Zuckerman has a great post that begins with a recounting of his
youthful discomfort with the way the CEO of his early social media company,
Tripod, was treated by the media as if he had done it all by himself.
Hearing me rant about this one too many times, Kara Berklich, our head of
marketing, pulled me aside and explained that the visionary CEO was a
necessary social construct. With Bo as the single protagonist of our
corporate story, we were far more marketable than a complex story with half a
dozen key figures and a cast of thousands. When you’re selling a news
story, i... (more)
Today, for the very first time in my experience, The Encyclopedia Britannica
was the #1 result at Google for a query.
It’s good to see the EB making progress with its online offering, but I’m
actually puzzled in this case. The query was “horizontal hold” (without
quotes), and the EB page that’s #1 is pretty much worthless. It’s a stub
that gives a snippet of the article on the topic, but the snippet oddly
begins with definition #4. The page then points us into actual articles in
the EB, but they’re articles you have to pay for (although the EB offers a
“no risk” free trial).
Talk about “civility” on the Internet always makes me a little nervous.
For a bunch of reasons.
First, I generally try to be civil, but I’d hate to see a Net that is
always and only civil. Some rowdiness and rudeness is absolutely required.
Second, civility as a word feels like it comes from a colonial mentality, as
if there are the civil folks and then there are the savages. I’m not saying
that’s what people mean when they use the term. It’s just what I
Third, civility is so culturally relative that demanding that someone be
civil can actually mean, “Please play... (more)