inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #26 of 78: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 25 Oct 04 19:31
    
Getting back to the subject of activist technology, how do you think 
traditional organizers view these tools? In the book you mention their 
fear of ceding control of the message. Do you think the power of network 
tools is so compelling that more will learn to accept this giving up of 
some control, as Trippi and Howard Dean did?
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #27 of 78: David Kline (dkline) Tue 26 Oct 04 12:50
    
The "conventional wisdom" or "shared reality" that most people accept is
indeed being added to, broadened, altered, and "democratized" by blogging
and related technologies and tools. But it will always be "fact-based."  
How can it be otherwise? In much the same way that traditional media 
supports a rational world view and debunks supernatural explanations for
events, the blogosphere will, through the meritocracy of linking, debunk
bloggers who claim that belly button lint cures cancer. There are simply
too many bloggers writing about how they or those they love are dealing
with this disease to allow false information to gain credence.

I'm especially interested, Christian, in how blogging and Google and RSS
may spur the trend towards de-linking content and communication from
*specific* venues. For example, I can envision a day very soon (although I
can't imagine how it could be done) when, if I'm at my local car
dealership trying to get a good lease deal, I'll be able to instantly
access blog posts and articles from anybody anywhere about which model
cars have the best lease terms -- all without having to go specifically to
www.edmunds.com and search through all the site's information.

In other words, content de-linked from original venue or context,
delivered on a real-time basis to serve a need or want that I specify.

If the above scenario is, in fact, a real possibility and not a pipe
dream, couldn't it have political/organizing implications as well as the 
obvious commercial applications?
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #28 of 78: Mack Reed (factoid) Tue 26 Oct 04 15:03
    
<dkline>'s question raises another specter for me: the slow death of
paid-for content as an economic model. This shows very real potential
for continuing and, ultimately, triggering a decline in content
quantity (and thereby, quality) when the business of making content for
subscribers or advertisers no longer proves profitable. 

In other words, as someone once said so immortally: information wants
to be free.

With NetNewsWire, I can now read hundreds of blogs without ever
subjecting myself to their ads. Before long, I won't even need a reader
- I'm guessing there are sites now where you can simply program in
your favorite RSS feeds, categorize them by content type, and browse
raw, aggregated, indexed information.  (And if such sites don't yet
exist, then I hope the developer who takes this idea to the bank will
send me a cookie basket when he's done).

A harbinger of this trend can be found at Metrofeeds.com (now in beta)
- essentially a voice-less RSS portal model, about which I recently
wrote here: http://LAVoice.org/article332.html 

Granted, Metrofeed and their successors may seek to sell ads of their
own, but it could be argued that they're stealing pageviews, and thus,
ad impressions from the sites they scrape. 

Yes, a grand sort of global wiki seems to be taking shape, but I
wonder whether it's in the process of supplanting the very
traditionally-based online content media economy on which a good
portion of its "wisdom" relies. 

Christian - As RSS grows more prevalent along the lines <dkline>
describes, won't the future economic model of end-product be more of a
plasmatic cloud of agent-aggregated information than the current model
of "take a drink from whichever news source you choose, at the price of
seeing a few ads?"

If so, then will the content-producing economy be left solely to those
who don't mind working for free? 
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #29 of 78: Jamais Cascio, WorldChanger (cascio) Tue 26 Oct 04 16:24
    
FWIW, Mack, several of the feeds I read (via NetNewsWire, too) now have ads
along the bottom of the posts. Relatively unobtrusive, but also
unfilterable.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #30 of 78: all mouse-and-gui about it (factoid) Tue 26 Oct 04 16:52
    
Very interesting, JC. I'll keep an eye out for that. I wonder if they
register as impressions at the content provider's end ...
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #31 of 78: Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Tue 26 Oct 04 17:21
    
Actually, that is an issue with the format.  It is downloaded, but
that does not mean read.

Our own <ssabrina> was on the case earlier this year:

http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3307961
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #32 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 26 Oct 04 21:17
    
Whoa, I'm falling behind!

Jon asked, "Getting back to the subject of activist technology, how do
you think  traditional organizers view these tools? In the book you
mention their  fear of ceding control of the message. Do you think the
power of network tools is so compelling that more will learn to accept
this giving up of some control, as Trippi and Howard Dean did?"

I think grassroots activists welcome these tools but are often
skeptical about them being usable or implemented in time. Last December
we were regularly promised sophisticated precinct-mapping tools but in
the end we used MapQuest or Yahoo maps and that worked just fine.

As for the conflict between centralized command-and-control campaigns
and this more decentralized form, I think that does present a problem
for professional organizers. Message control is important, so the
question is whether the innovations freed up in a distributed campaign
will outweigh the potential cost of a renegado.

Trippi himself has mentioned that the online tools they were offering
during the Dean primary campiagn to supporters to call Iowa or New
Hampshire or Arizona or what-have-you were equally usable by Kerry
supporters, Bush supporters, and others. 

These are disruptive changes in the wind and they will definitely
discomfit some people who have a pretty good thing going the ways
things currently are.

Thus far, it was mainly Dean (and later Kerry)'s fundraising prowess
that has gotten all the attention, since money talks of course, but
that's really just the tip of the iceberg, and the fact that Dean did
not get the nomination enabled some consultants to say either that the
tactics of the Dean campaign didn't work or at least that the time
hasn't yet come for a winning approach built on those tactics.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #33 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 26 Oct 04 21:22
    
David Kline said, "In much the same way that traditional media 
supports a rational world view and debunks supernatural explanations
for events, the blogosphere will, through the meritocracy of linking,
debunk bloggers who claim that belly button lint cures cancer. There
are simply too many bloggers writing about how they or those they love
are dealing with this disease to allow false information to gain
credence."

Perhaps that's true in the long run. The truth will out and all of
that, but it does seem that the blogosphere is "gameable" - some people
smelled a set up in the Rathergate document scandal, for example.


re, "In other words, content de-linked from original venue or context,
delivered on a real-time basis to serve a need or want that I
specify.... If the above scenario is, in fact, a real possibility and
not a pipe dream, couldn't it have political/organizing implications as
well as the obvious commercial applications?"

Yes, I think so. Right now there is a conflict between centralized,
locked-in opinion formats such as Amazon's book reviews (as compared
with self-hosted blog book reviews, let's say). In that example, I'd
prefer that Amazon support an open review standard and aggregrate
reviews in that format *and* offer hosting to anyone who wants the
convenience. I've long thought that a sort of distributed epinions
engine could exist among blogs if some clever XML dialects were widely
adopted and some good spidering tools helped people draw inferences
from the huge number of opinions out there.

Mary Hodder (http://napsterization.com/stories/) who did the peer
review of my manuscript, has some interesting ideas about how the
essence of RSS-type feeds is exactly that way in which it distributes
the filtering and saves you time or effort finding the information you
need. As the sifting tools get better and RSS/Atom are extended more
fully into the handheld world, I can imagine a sort of just-in-time
information system helping people make decisions and plan activities
together. It's an interesting idea and bears more reflection....
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #34 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 26 Oct 04 21:33
    
Mack asked about "the slow death of paid-for content as an economic
model...."

I'm not sure I buy into this. I do think that the inforamtion market
is being rationalized and possibly commodified and the large number of
hobbyists willing to contribute content for free does undercut at least
some echelons of the paying market, but I think if people are willing
to focus on valuable niches they can still earn money with content.
Also, I think for a lot of businesses, managing knowledge and
generating content are competitive requirements so that they may be a
cost center and not a profit center for any business that doesn't have
publishing or communications at its core, but for some employee or unit
or contractor or consultant it will be a source of income.


"Information wants to be free" refers to the free speech meaning of
free and not the free beer meaning, as I understand it.


Re "...sites now where you can simply program in your favorite RSS
feeds, categorize them by content type, and browse raw, aggregated,
indexed information.  (And if such sites don't yet exist, then I hope
the developer who takes this idea to the bank will send me a cookie
basket when he's done).

Examples of that might include Kinja and Feedster, although the
categorization has a long way to go. The trend seems to be toward
"folksonomy" tagging by participants, as at http://del.icio.us/ and
http://flickr.com/


"Granted, Metrofeed and their successors may seek to sell ads of their
own, but it could be argued that they're stealing pageviews, and thus,
ad impressions from the sites they scrape."

In the <blog> conference I remember some concern about the fact that
http://bloglines.com/ provides full-feed content in its own wrapper.
This probably goes beyond fair use and unless people specify copyright
or creative-commons or other "rules" for reuse, it's not clear how to
control how your feed is used other than sending out an adulterated
feed full of teasers (and thus risking not being read by those who
don't wish to click through).

"Yes, a grand sort of global wiki seems to be taking shape, but I
wonder whether it's in the process of supplanting the very
traditionally-based online content media economy on which a good
portion of its 'wisdom' relies."

I tend to agree with Dan Gillmor (he said, plugging his recent Inkwell
interview of same) that - at least as it is now - personal publishing
and professional media are symbiotic. They each benefit from each other
and I don't see one supplanting or coopting the other entirely because
I think they inhabit different ecological niches informationwise. 

"Christian - As RSS grows more prevalent along the lines <dkline>
describes, won't the future economic model of end-product be more of a
plasmatic cloud of agent-aggregated information than the current model
of "take a drink from whichever news source you choose, at the price
of seeing a few ads?"

It might well, although Tim O'Reilly is a great one for pointing out
that after disintermediation there is always reintermediation as some
person or service discovers new ways to sell convenience or authority
or credibility in a changed mediascape.


"If so, then will the content-producing economy be left solely to
those who don't mind working for free?"

I think it's the same issues as with Napster and music. Some niches
will suffer and others will be discovered and exploited. Famously, when
Dickens discovered his novels were being pirated in the U.S., he
booked speaking tours here and made a bundle on those. 

The doomsday scenario in which everyone expects content for free so
content-creators starve and then there's no content I think leaves out
the fact that there will be some new equilibrium point between supply
and demand. It's just that instead of the giant gap between
conversation and media, there may be a lot of intermediate microcontent
steps, some of which do not provide a living-wage level of income for
their hobbyists and some that do.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #35 of 78: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 26 Oct 04 21:47
    
This relates to a practical issue that's been on my mind quite a bit since 
the Dean campaign ended. We had so many talented and highly motivated 
people who were uncertain what to do next; many of them had similar ideas 
and were wanting to build social or political software, and some of us 
were concerned that energies would be duplicated in many fragments of 
projects that wouldn't quite cohere into effective applications or 
solutions. That's a problem with decentralization, and I think the 
solution to the problem is leadership. When you have these self-organizing 
and decentralized movements, how do make leadership happen? Do leaders 
just emerge?
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #36 of 78: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 26 Oct 04 21:47
    
(xian's 34 slipped ahead of my post)
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #37 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 26 Oct 04 21:59
    
first, a question that Jamais posed over in Farai's interview:

"While the "gaming the system" threat from open primaries in
California was
probably more smoke than fire (that is, I don't recall any primary
outcomes
that differed significantly from pre-primary polling of party
members), I do
know that "messing with the other guy" was a common suggestion here in
primary elections where one party had a shoo-in candidate (typically
an
incumbent).

"Christian, I found the book pretty interesting, a nice recap of what
I had seen and encountered over the past decade+ of being online. I do
wonder, though, whether the enthusiasm around online citizenship tools
reflects a real desire for action or a desire for novelty. Reading and
commenting in blogs, for example, is new and different for most people.
 It's also very easy, something that can readily be done in between
meetings in the office. I suppose what I'm  wondering can best be
summed up as whether blogging (etc.) means change or just  *talking*
about change."

Blogging by itself doesn't lead to change, I don't think. It
represents a way for people to articulate their ideas and talk back to
the mass media, and it may change minds (although a lot of political
blogging is preaching to the converted).

However, if you visit a blog like Daily Kos these days
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #38 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 26 Oct 04 22:01
    
[hit post too soon...]

... you'll see endless exhortations to GOTV (get out the vote). I
think tools such as Meetup that took people from behind their computer
screens and out into public spaces to meet their neighbors were a
crucial ingredient in facilitating the latent desire to get involved
from a lot of people (myself included) who did not know, at first, what
to do.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #39 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 26 Oct 04 22:08
    
Jon asked about leadership, "We had so many talented and highly
motivated people who were uncertain what to do next; many of them had
similar ideas and were wanting to build social or political software,
and some of us  were concerned that energies would be duplicated in
many fragments of projects that wouldn't quite cohere into effective
applications or solutions. That's a problem with decentralization, and
I think the solution to the problem is leadership. When you have these
self-organizing and decentralized movements, how do make leadership
happen? Do leaders just emerge?"

This is, I think, where the darwinian force of the market is actually
useful. I never despaired too much about the post-Dean diaspora (and
Jon you and I were on some of the same meandering conference calls),
because I saw it as a kind of massive incubation project with
laboratories popping up all over. People who had leadership skills got
their projects funded or found volunteers or banded together with
people who could complement them.

DeanSpace found a way to become CivicSpace
(http://civicspacelabs.org/). Advokit (http://advokit.net/) went open
source and is being used as a voter-management tool in some races this
fall. Party for America (http://partyforamerica.com/) built on the
non-fundraising aspect of the Dean houseparties movement and cut a deal
with ACT to help get people organized and going door-to-door in swing
states.

All three of those projects were spearheaded by one or more leaders
who took it upon themselves to implement their visions and found
willing supporters (and when necessary, funding) along the way.

And those are just off the top of my head, projects I was directly
involved with and whose principals I know personally. I'm quite sure
there are other examples out there and even things happening at the
last minute, such as http://americangraffiti.org/ built on the
determination of a few key people.

So, I guess my answer is that yes, leadership emerges. Dan Robinson at
Advokit and Robert Vogel at Party for America both has experience as
CEO or CTO or tech businesses, but then Zack Rosen was just an
undergraduate with a brilliant mind and some great ideas and his
leadership skills clearly emerged through through the process of
starting and then nurturing hack4dean -> deanspace -> civicspace.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #40 of 78: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 27 Oct 04 05:52
    
I think Zack could be more agile because he wasn't as concerned about 
money or organizational structure, for him and Josh Koenig and Neil Drumm, 
it was "Just Do It." Which is another point you might address: baggage. 
We seem to be evolving away from monolithic structures toward agile 
coalitions, but it's harder for people with more traditional 
organizational experience to get going, it seems to me. Is that what 
you're seeing?
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #41 of 78: David Kline (dkline) Wed 27 Oct 04 09:34
    
Does Dean's loss mean that citizen organizing tools don't truly live up to 
their original promise? I can't imagine why this would be so. We can 
critique organizing tactics and strategies all we want, but at some point 
the question comes down to whether or not the candidate himself is truly 
what the people want. Dean wasn't what people wanted, in the end.

Has blogging changed anything really? Or does it merely enable a lot of
talk about changing things? I don't think there's a single responsible
media executive -- on either the business or editorial side -- who won't
readily concede that blogging has already produced significant changes in
how news is produced and vetted, in how news producers relate to and view
news consumers, in the editorial and fact-checking policies of numerous
media, and in the kinds of media conumers deem credible. Next up will be
changes in media business models, to facilitate new citizen-media products
and services that might shore up their threatened bottom lines.

And those are just the blogging-induced changes in media. Christian is the 
one to comment on blog-fueled changes in politics and citizen activism.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #42 of 78: David Kline (dkline) Wed 27 Oct 04 10:46
    
Christian, I'm also really interested in your statement: "Perhaps that's
true [i.e., that trustworthy information will tend to rise to the top in
the blogosphere] in the long run. The truth will out and all of that, but
it does seem that the blogosphere is "gameable" - some people smelled a
set up in the Rathergate document scandal, for example."

First, as far as Rathergate goes, Karl Rove would have had to been one
helluva prescient figure to know that 60 Minutes would refuse to listen to
its own document experts and build its Bush story around highly suspect
documents. The fault exclusively lies with CBS, which failed to do proper
due diligence on the story. Bottom line: the bloggers did their job;  
Rather didn't. And if the blog-fueled expose of CBS that resulted proves
anything (and I'm not sure that it does), it seems to suggest that "truth
ultimately wins" in the blogosphere.

But don't get me wrong. I'm entirely open to the idea that Gresham's Law
will operate in the blogosphere, too -- i.e., that bad ideas will crowd
out good ones. I'm just wondering what you think of the claim constantly
made by Jeff Jarvis and countless other "name-brand" evangelists for
blogging that links create a sort of "meritocracy" in blogging. In other
words, that the cream ultimately rises to the top.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #43 of 78: Ari Davidow (ari) Wed 27 Oct 04 17:26
    
I am very sceptical about blogs becoming a challenge to the idea of 
mediated content. There are a lot of contexts in which mediation matters - 
where information needs to be vetted, and people will pay for that 
vetting.

At the same time, as our information environment fragments, it seems to be 
getting easier and easier to design an information environment in which you 
never hear something with which you don't agree. That has to have a bad 
effect on overall polarization and social fragmentation. For America to 
succeed as a multicultural environment (to the degree that it does 
succeed), how do we reverse that trend and find ways to bring more 
_diverse_ people together in ways that they hear/listen to each other?
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #44 of 78: all mouse-and-gui about it (factoid) Thu 28 Oct 04 09:29
    
Christian: 

Cory Doctorow pointed recently to an email that Dan Gillmor got from a
PR firm: 

""(PR client) is a market intelligence and media analysis services
firm. (PR client) is working with F1000 companies who are using our
services to Manage and Monitor Digital Influencers (such as blogs,
message boards, user groups, complaint sites, etc.) as an intelligence
and threat awareness tool. (Person's name), CEO could talk to you about
'What F1000 Companies are doing to take action against bloggers' and
'How companies are taking steps to protect their corporate reputations
from bloggers/digital influencers.'""
<http://www.boingboing.net/2004/10/27/for_sale_action_agai.html> 

Now that DailyKos, BoingBoing, the political conventions and a variety
of other prominent and excellent bloggers have helped elevate
participants in the medium well above the "hobbyist" status they
enjoyed in the public eye a few years ago, it would seem we need to
undergo the standard period of demonization afforded any powerful new
medium that threatens the status quo. 

Since it bears no official regulation, could blogging benefit as a
medium (if not in its image) from the proposal of any sort of ethical
code that might be attractive to mass adoption, a la Creative Commons? 

Got any thoughts on what such a code should urge? 
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #45 of 78: David Kline (dkline) Thu 28 Oct 04 10:08
    
I used to share the concern that blogging, along with other new media
trends, would increase the polarization and "nichifiation" of society.  
People will soon read only what they already agree with, I thought, and
the idea of a "media commons" would fade. No more could the American
people have a "shared national experience" like they did when Cronkite
spoke out against Vietnam and overnight galvanized the opposition to it.

But if you think about it, that "shared national culture" really only
existed for about three decades, from the 1950s to the mid-1980s. It more
or less died with "who shot JR." Jeff Jarvis notes that he used to work at
People magazine at the time. In the 1970s & early 1980s, a TV cover would
always sell. By the mid-1980s, that wasn't so anymore.

Prior to the 1950s, most cities had a number of newspapers, all competing 
ferociously with each other. In the early part of this century, readers 
bought the daily paper whose political view they agreed with -- liberal,
conservative, socialist, anarchist, whatever.

So I wonder if the "shared national experience" of commonly-viewed media
isn't the anomaly here -- one that, whatever else it does, tends to
enhance corporate media control of "the message." And to the extent that
shared national experiences still exist (and 9/11 proves that they do),
I'm also not sure blogging and nichification are eroding them.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #46 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Thu 28 Oct 04 12:49
    
re <41>,

"Has blogging changed anything really? Or does it merely enable a lot
of talk about changing things? I don't think there's a single
responsible media executive -- on either the business or editorial side
-- who won't readily concede that blogging has already produced
significant changes in how news is produced and vetted, in how news
producers relate to and view news consumers, in the editorial and
fact-checking policies of numerous media, and in the kinds of media
conumers deem credible."

Not to mention the fact that smart journalists now use blogs as tip
sheets.

"Next up will be changes in media business models, to facilitate new
citizen-media products and services that might shore up their
threatened bottom lines."

I agree. Make it easier for people to permalink to your content and
form communities around your web presence and then... sell them stuff?

"And those are just the blogging-induced changes in media. Christian
is the one to comment on blog-fueled changes in politics and citizen
activism."

I think blogging is just a piece of the picture, but I wrote something
at Radio Free Blogistan a year or so ago called "Weblog Strategies for
Nonprofits" that still does a fairly good job of framing how I think
activists could be using blogs and RSS/syndication.

http://radiofreeblogistan.com/2003/10/03/weblog_strategies_for_nonprofits.html

  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #47 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Thu 28 Oct 04 12:55
    
re <42>,

"Christian, I'm also really interested in your statement: '...but
it does seem that the blogosphere is "gameable" - some people smelled
a set up in the Rathergate document scandal, for example.'

"First, as far as Rathergate goes, Karl Rove would have had to been
one helluva prescient figure to know that 60 Minutes would refuse to
listen to its own document experts and build its Bush story around
highly suspect documents."

The theories I've heard (tin-foil hat on now) had to do with Rovians
leaking the faked documents based on real vanished documents to Burkett
last spring so that he'd be exposed as a crank when they proved to be
fake - then he got cold feet and held onto them for a while, so they
may have appeared at the "wrong" time.

I'm not saying this is so, of course, but it sure helped discredit the
whole AWOL story despite the fact that the information in the
questionable documents tracks with everything else we know. Who would
have the incentive to recreate old documents? Why bother?

"The fault exclusively lies with CBS, which failed to do proper due
diligence on the story."

True.

"Bottom line: the bloggers did their job; Rather didn't. And if the
blog-fueled expose of CBS that resulted proves anything (and I'm not
sure that it does), it seems to suggest that 'truth ultimately wins' in
the blogosphere."

I think there's a still a lot more truth to come out on that story. I
was always suspicious that Republican-activist connected bloggers, like
Buckhead, had a textual analysis ready that same day. I was never
fully convinced by the arguments for or against the documents. I was
left with more questions than answers.


"I'm just wondering what you think of the claim constantly made by
Jeff Jarvis and countless other "name-brand" evangelists for blogging
that links create a sort of "meritocracy" in blogging. In other words,
that the cream ultimately rises to the top."

Not sure that's so. Blogging about Britney Spears may rise to the top
as well. It's probably true that blogging is more meritocratic than
most other publishing media, but I don't see it as a one-way street to
everything getting better. As I've said before on this topic, I'm not a
utopian.

I do think that the open-source concept that scrutiny by more eyes
will detect more bugs applies to blogging. That's why Ken Layne's "We
will fact-check your ass!" battlecry resonated so powerfully in 2002.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #48 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Thu 28 Oct 04 13:00
    
re <43>,

"I am very sceptical about blogs becoming a challenge to the idea of 
mediated content. There are a lot of contexts in which mediation
matters -  where information needs to be vetted, and people will pay
for that vetting."

I agree. I see blogging as *complementary* with trad. media, not
something that will replace it.



"At the same time, as our information environment fragments, it seems
to be  getting easier and easier to design an information environment
in which you never hear something with which you don't agree. That has
to have a bad effect on overall polarization and social fragmentation.
For America to succeed as a multicultural environment (to the degree
that it does succeed), how do we reverse that trend and find ways to
bring more _diverse_ people together in ways that they hear/listen to
each other?"

Not sure I know the answer to that. There is the "echo chamber"
problem and it's not limited to blogs, now that we have things like FOX
news and the generally constrained realm of debate in all major media.
As I read right-wing blogs questioning the 380 tons of explosives
story this week it only reminds me that we live in different cognitive
realities.

The only countervailing aspect of this is that blogs an the web and
tools like Meetup and upcoming allow us to come together around
commonalities, but they don't enforce uniformity, so we may meet other
people who agree with us on some key issue but they may be quite
different in some other regard, and rather than inhabiting a single
hermetic bubble of ideas, I think we have the chance to belong to many
overlapping and nonoverlapping spheres.

A lot of right-wing bloggers link to Radio Free Blogistan, even though
I'm a pinko, because it's just about blogging and they're interested
in that topic, for example.
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #49 of 78: Jamais Cascio, WorldChanger (cascio) Thu 28 Oct 04 13:34
    
WorldChanging, which is not partisan but is clearly progressive in its
outlook, gets quite a few links from right-wing sites, and most of them are
positive links.

JADP, Xian, but the "echo chamber" problem may not be as imposing as we
fear, at least if this AP story is true:

<http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=1212&e=2&u=/ap/20041028/ap_on
_hi_te/techbits_curious_voters&sid=95573501>

Voters Checking Out Other Sides' Sites

By ANICK JESDANUN, AP Internet Writer

NEW YORK - Are right-leaning voters spending all their online time on
Rushlimbaugh.com? Are left-leaning voters locked into the like-minded
Talkingpointsmemo.com?

Actually, no. They're checking out the other sides' sites, surprising
researchers who expected to see "selective exposure" among Internet users.

Researchers from the Pew Internet and American Life Project and the
University of Michigan's School of Information found Internet users were
more knowledgeable than non-users about arguments that challenged their
point of view.

(and continues from there)
  
inkwell.vue.228 : Christian Crumlish, THE POWER OF MANY
permalink #50 of 78: Christian Crumlish (xian) Thu 28 Oct 04 14:03
    
Also, see this interesting Pew research blogged by Micah Sifry at
Personal Democracy Forum (disclosure: where I'm a contributing editor),
"What Echo Chamber?" <http://www.personaldemocracy.com/node/view/69>:

"Guess what? Internet users don't insulate themselves in information
echo chambers. "Wired Americans are more aware than non-internet users
of all kinds of arguments, even those that challenge their preferred
candidates and issue positions." That's the news from a new study by
the Pew Internet & American Life Project, done in tandem with the
University of Michigan School of Information...."

Pew study <http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/141/report_display.asp>



(Speaking of full disclosure, I'm also currently affiliated with
Markos Moulitsas Zuniga and Jerome Armstrong's political consulting
firm, Armstrong Zuniga, working on strategy, product development, and
user experience, but that's only going to last through the election, at
which point I'll probably still network with them and refer clients to
each other when appropriate, but I will no longer be their chief
strategy officer, as I am now.)
  

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