Ross Mayfield's Weblog
Markets, Technology and Musings

(by most recent)

Search weblog
Search WWW


Friday, January 10, 2003


Tom quotes Alexis de Tocqueville to describe Ryze and social society of group formation:

Americans, of all ages, of all stations in life, and all types of dispositions are forever forming associations. They are not only commercial or industrial associations in which they all take part but others of a thousand different types -- relgions, moral, serious, futile, very general and very minute... Nothing, in my view, deserves more attention that the intellectual and moral associations in America.
(Tocqueville - from his 1830's "Democracy in America")

Tocqueville's point resonates today, not just in our increased understanding of social networks, but if there were Optimist Clubs around the world we may have a little more peace.

Tom also posted on Geocaching a few days before I did (no I didn't plagerize).

4:48:50 PM    comment []

Jim McGee:  There may not be a visible hierarchy but the energy still has to come from somewhere. Someone has to be the spark and put enough energy into the system for it to become self-sustaining and self-organizing.

Stuart Henshall:  Ryze illustrates that human profiles are built on learning, with chaotic connections, that are constantly changing. And is the early emergence of an outpouring of human profiles

4:10:49 PM    comment []

Network Society

Books by Duncan Watts, Malcolm Gladwell, Albert-László Barabási, and Mark Buchanan have all popped up on All Consuming. But although we are talking a blue streak about small worlds, scale-free networks, connectors, social internetworking, and the strength of weak ties, I have a feeling we're still mostly preaching to the choir -- namely, each other... I can't wait to see how the blogosphere will transform -- and be transformed by -- the worlds of law, government, journalism, medicine, science, and the arts. [Jon Udell]

Jon writes on Crossing the Bridge of Weak Ties (a must read), that social ties matter more than protcols or applications. 

The two-way Web is being printed on HTML pages, distributed over the RSS network, and woven together with links. The WYSIWYG writing capability that I saw in the Netscape and Microsoft mail/news clients five years ago, and that Ingo and Greg are drawing attention to again, still isn't woven into the fabric of the two-way Web the way it needs to be...

My concern, rather, is that we'll get hung up once again on applications and protocols, and miss the big picture...

...It's about the evolution of our species toward shared consciousness. When I started tinkering with the then-new Radio UserLand 8, about a year ago, I got fired up again with the vision that had inspired my book. I saw, in the emerging blogosphere, a next opportunity to reach critical mass -- by which I mean a world in which transparency and information-sharing are the rule rather than the exception... 

So why worry? We inhabitants of the blogosphere are living in a kind of a ghetto. My social networking experiment last May demonstrated how clubby this world is, and I concluded the writeup with a plea for diversity:

There is a certain sameness to a lot of the blogrolls I see. Many of those first attracted to blogging share interests in software and networking. To a first approximation, blogspace today is a community of like-minded people. But we're starting to see hives emerge. Among Radio bloggers, for example, clusters of lawyers and academics have appeared.

It's useful to identify yourself with a cluster of like-minded people. It may be even more useful to locate clusters of differently-minded people whose activities complement your own. Jenny Levine, for example, is a gateway to a world of librarians who see information technology very differently than hardcore techies do.

...[cites a referral log]...

These are email referrals from (mainly, I presume) librarians who read about my LibraryLookup project in the Search Engine Watch newsletter, or were referred to it by friends who saw that newsletter. These folks are probably not normally readers of weblogs, and certainly not writers of them. This was a crossover event.

Jon makes some significant points I tried to make lately.  The best bloggers have yet to blogTapping into other communities outside the blogosphere through weak ties brings numbers and diversity.  Weak ties form strong ties, virtual or in-person.  The tools and perception of networks will grow, but this fundamentally about the building of a network society.

2:24:30 PM    comment []

Social Network Sites & FOAF

Article on social networks sites, highlighting Ryze [Gaurdian].  Highlights:

Just like Friendster, and the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, they, too, work on the idea that you probably know someone who knows someone who knows someone who might just be the someone for you - but this time they emphasise the more commercial sides of life. Ryzers, as they call themselves, are perhaps the most sophisticated of the bunch.

They get to list their interests, search other peoples', and leave messages for each other on their pages. Ryze also offers "tribes", sub-communi ties for everyone from expat Scandinavians in the US to webloggers. But do they work? Well, anecdotal evidence suggests they may well....

"I get most of my client contacts from referrers coming from lurkers on mailing lists, weblogs or white paper readers," he says. Clay Shirky, a renowned internet thinker, agrees.

"Used right, mailing lists are still the best social network tools in existence," he says. And, of course, all these tools only work if you actively participate in them. No one will find you, if you keep your interests private and stay away from mailing lists and weblogs...

A new technology, however, is being developed that will allow you to stay away from such commercial operations as Friendster and Ryze. FOAF, or "friend of a friend", is a special computer language that can be used to describe ourselves, our work and our friends...

FOAF files are more technical, but luckily one of the FOAF community, Leigh Dodds, has built a great little application for building them. The FOAF-o-Matic comes in two flavours. The older JavaScript version, at, is good, but simple.

The newer version, at, is more complex but not entirely polished yet.

Either version asks questions and produces a file you can then place online and register at other FOAF applications, such as Jim Ley's FOAFNaut at 


7:49:59 AM    comment []

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2003 Ross Mayfield.
Last update: 2/1/2003; 7:49:39 AM.
This theme is based on the SoundWaves (blue) Manila theme, but severly tweaked.

January 2003
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
Dec   Feb

<--Older | Newer-->

Subscribe to "Ross Mayfield's Weblog" in Radio UserLand. Click to see the XML version of this web page. Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog. @Ryze FOAF

Subscribe by email:

Recent Posts

HotTopic Outline