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David Weinberger

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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 comments appended: 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, sharing 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)

From Berkman: Zeynep and Ethanz on the Web We Want

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 “covered... (more)

[2b2k] Ethanz on Steve Jobs, genius, and CEOs

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)

Britannica: #1 at Google

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). So... (more)

The problem with civility

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 sometimes hear. Third, civility is so culturally relative that demanding that someone be civil can actually mean, “Please play... (more)