Ross Mayfield's Weblog
Markets, Technology and Musings

(by most recent)
Blogroll Me!

Search weblog
Search WWW


Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Its all Happening...

A spontaneous emergence supported by Social Software just occured around a meme...a Happening.

a Happening on "emergent democracy". We just had a Happening on "emergent democracy". (A conference call about blogs ;-p ) It was great. On the call were Clay Shirky, Ross Mayfield, Pete Kaminski, Gen Kanai, Liz Lawley, and Sébastien Paquet. One of the great things about blogs is that it accelerated the the conversation on the web and increased the bandwith. Phone calls are even faster. We decided that this format was useful. Happenings should happen when some blog meme starts to pick up speed and reaches escape velocity. We are going to try to develop this form of communication as an extention of blogging but use other tools such as Wiki's, chat and IM. We are going to do another 7am Sat Tokyo time. Click Here to see what time that is in other time zones. We will be continuing our discussion on emergent democracy, but will be testing this Happening method of communication. [Joi Ito's Web]

3:41:57 PM    comment []

Ecosystem of Networks

My post on Distribution of Choice was a little long winded, so let me sum up:

  1. Not all links are created equal
  2. Conversational relationships are not scale-free
  3. Applying these principles reveals a Network Ecosystem Model that helps us understand the political economy of weblogs

Network Size Description Distribution
Political Network ~1000s Blogs as mass media Power-law (scale-free)
Social Network ~150 Blogging Classic Bell-curve (random)
Creative Network ~12 Blogs as dinner conversation Dense (equal)

A link to a site you read isnt the same as a link to someone you know through their blog or someone you actively collaborate with. 

After reviewing data of work relationships, information flows and knowledge exchanges from hundreds of consulting assignments inside Fortune 2000 organizations Valdis Krebs did not see much evidence of power laws in this data. His data is of confirmed ties [both persons agreed/recognized their mutual interactions/flows/relationships] from a worldwide pool of clients dating back to 1988. Of course he found some people were better connected than others, but the extreme hubs found in power law networks just were not evident.

Adapting a famous line from the movie "Blazing Saddles" Valdis concluded: "Power Law? There ain't no stinkin' power law in this data!"

This conclusion fits well with Duncan Watts observation that the more you ratchet up the requirements for a link, recognized connections diminish, and the less you see power laws. 

Which makes all the noise about Power-laws off target.  I had the pleasure of having a dinner conversation with Clay last night.  Yes, he should start a weblog, but he has his own reasons for not doing so yet, which I'll let him explain for himself.  But studying the structure of the weblog ecosystem does not have to be an anthropological exercise.  Its a wonderful testament to the energy of blogspace that Dave Sifry created a new index to reveal the neglected tail of the Power-law distribution of a Political Network.  But we don't have to screw the Power-law or use statistical techniques to reveal a different distribution.  This approach has tremendous value in allowing new cream to arise to the top.  Both innovations are still attempting to filter the wrong set of data and to generalize all of blogspace.  What matters isnt breaking these laws, but the perspective that weblogs, aside from the Political Network publishing dynamics, are communication tools for group forming in Social Networks and Creative Networks.  Meg asks the right question: what if these tools can expand our capacities?  What if 12 and 150 become averages instead of limits? 

Other people are thinking in similar terms from an anthropological perspective as participants.  The Social and Creative Networks are where the new and valuable interpersonal connections are being made.

In the coming days I will build upon the Network Ecosystem Model to explain the Distribution of Influence and Distribution of Social Capital.  My head hurts, but this is getting interesting.

12:13:32 PM    comment []

Terra/Lycos Blog Builder

Lycos launches its ad campaign today for, the first of many majors to enter blogspace.  Their What is a Blog page says: "Blogs are text based and no HTML is required to set them up or to edit them -- just fill out a form!"  Makes it sound like something I want to do with my time. 

Excerpts from a WSJ article on the mainstreaming of blogspace:

...Terra Lycos, based in Spain, hopes the new service will drive growth in subscribers to its paid Tripod service, which charges $4.95 to $19.95 a month and offers other features such as Web publishing tools, e-mail accounts and domain names.

"Terra Lycos wants to step out front ahead of Yahoo in getting blogging as a core feature for users," said Greg Bloom, a senior analyst with Nielsen//NetRatings (a vendor to Lycos). He added that should Yahoo offer blogging in the future, he expects the Sunnyvale, Calif. company to charge for the feature.

An AOL spokesman said the company is looking to introduce a blog product, with a "spring timeframe." A Yahoo spokeswoman said, "We have not to date announced any plans to introduce this medium as part of our service offerings."

Terra Lycos will advertise the product starting Wednesday (Today) through direct marketing and online ads. The company wouldn't disclose how much it cost to develop the service nor how much it will spend on marketing.

...Mr. Bloom said. "This is something that is going to go mainstream."

Terra Lycos hopes that many of its users will sample the new product. As of last Sept. 30, the company had 5.3 million registered subscribers for all its products, 2.5 of whom are paying. Terra Lycos doesn't break out its subscriber data by unit. Besides Tripod, other fee-based divisions include Lycos Finance, and Lycos InSite (a paid listing service for search engines).

Pyra Labs will have to contend for the first time with a large competitor in the blog world, but Jason Shellen, director of business development, says he is unconcerned. "Blogging is still a pretty big space, and there's room for lots of players in the blogging world," Mr. Shellen said. "We're working on some unique things that will take blogging further. Whether or not big companies pick up on the growing trend, I think we'll still do well." He said over a million people have started a blog with the company's software, and that 15 to 20% of those were regularly updated. He wouldn't say how many people are paying the $35 annual fee for the company's premium blogging tool, called Blogger Pro, which was introduced a year ago...

Some well-known Web publishers, including Salon Media Group, have set up blog services. Scott Rosenberg, managing editor of, argues that sites with distinct identities may be able to charge for blogs, but broader portals may not.

Mr. Rosenberg noted that a lot of free blogging software is already available, meaning big portals like AOL and MSN may find it hard to charge. "For the people who chose to [pay] at Salon, it's more about the affiliation with what we do editorially."

Salon Blogs charges members $40 per year for software; since its inception in July, about 1,000 people have signed up.

Terra Lycos said it plans to add more features for premium customers based on user comments, and also to introduce a more basic version of the Weblogging tool for its nonpaying members within a few months.

12:42:40 AM    comment []

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2003 Ross Mayfield.
Last update: 3/1/2003; 7:40:37 AM.
This theme is based on the SoundWaves (blue) Manila theme, but severly tweaked.

February 2003
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
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  
Jan   Mar

<--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


All Consuming Google