Friday, May 09, 2003
Collaborative Emergent DemocracyJoi has wikified his Emergent Democracy paper. Now anyone can contribute and edit in the actual document. Now it will be interesting to see if all those bright commentators turn into contributors.
Choosing Words with Care
Zack Lynch offers 3 types of blog readers:
On reading side, there is a whole other set of categorizations to describe the different way people read blogs:
- T-people: Title readers, rarely follow links, make quick opinions, probably RSS too many feeds
- D-people: Deep readers, follow all links, think carefully about the blog, rarely comment
- Q-people: Questioners, read quickly, follow most links, assimilate information, and comment frequently
I am sure there are many more, but you get my point.
And offers the advice to choose words carefully, but not to spoil the fun we are having.
Email Doesn't Self-Organize
Ward Cunningham (one of Socialtext's advisors) on blogs, email and wikis:
Cunningham also draws many distinctions between wikis and another popular means of Web communication: blogs, or Weblogs. "Blogs and wikis are polar opposites in many ways, though they're seen as similar" he says. "A blog tends to reflect the biases and opinions of an author, while a wiki is more like an open cocktail party. In a wiki you try to speak without a strong voice, seeking consensus to create something permanent, while on a blog you're developing your own voice and it's very much about your voice."
Cunningham also points out that you can go away from a wiki and come back at any time to pick up a conversation without much inconvenience, which isn't the case with e-mail-centric group discussions. "E-mail doesn't self-organize," he emphasizes.
In terms of future trends for wikis, Cunningham says "there's a lot of interest in combining the timelessness of wikisóthe fact that you can go away from them and come backówith the attention-grabbing aspect of blogs. Integrating blogs and wikis is a hot item right now."
Post-PC Digital Lifestyle at Work
What happens after PCs are ubiquitous and people are no longer buying technology for more features, speed, or power? We buy lifestyle, according to this analysis from Kevin Werbach's Werblog.
Apple is becoming something much closer to Sony: an integrated digital media company. Sony sells computers, but no one would call Sony a PC company. What it does best is create unique platforms and experiences, then market the hell out of them. That describes the new Apple as well. The heart of the company is the digital lifestyle, not a box.
This perspective raises a question for corporations: What's the digital lifestyle mean at work? Will corporations continue to buy powerful, feature-laden enterprise systems or will we create new, lightweight distributed tools, like blogs and wikis, that help teams and organizations reach strategic goals?
Certainly the popularity of Instant Messaging is an example of lifestyle technology that has been brought into the workplace without the consent of the central IT staff. Blogs and wikis are seeing similar uptake for informal collaboration among teams. This trend is what's new: informal, edge, distributed, collaborative tools are creating a lifestyle approach to team work. They contrast with the traditional system approach represented by centralized software installations that impose behavioral and process requirements to fit the workers to the software.
Sounds like a lifestyle I would like to live, wouldn't you?
Web of Trust
Posted yesterday on Many-to-Many:
The launch of the highly differentiated LinkedIn networking community prompts an update the Social Networking Models table:
Social Networking Models
© 2003 Ross Mayfield
The framework differentiates social networking models by their connection method. What's new is the addition of Virtual Networks where connections are initially made through avatar interaction, thanks to Andrew Phelps. LinkedIn provides a perfect example of why Private Networks are based on a greater level of trust between participants:
- You can only browse and search members of your network, a few degrees away
- The only way to connect to another member of the network is through a real person providing a referral
- The referral structure prevents spam
- Besides connections made by referral, the only way a connection can be made is by inviting someone by knowing their email address
- The only connections are confirmed ties (both participants agree)
- Connections have real meaning
- Information flow is governed by participants who risk their reputation
IMHO, LinkedIn is the ideal social networking model for business networking. Because of the constraints imposed it will be successful in attracting serious professionals who have yet to participate in other models.
When you get your first meaningful referral request, you can't help but consider the reputation you are putting at risk. My first was an employer wishing to contact a candidate for hire. The employer was linked to my business partner Ed, then to me and then to an executive I plan on doing business with in the future and finally to the candidate. Of course I trust Ed, that's why we have a connection. I also have a level of trust with the executive, and I wouldn't approve the referral unless I was willing to take the risk of believing in my connections. The structure is amazingly similar to how business networking works in the real world. Only with an efficient tool.
Take pictures, for example. While I agree with Liz that the visual makes it a richer social experience, many people have real problems posting their photos online. Making it a requirement presents a barrier for participation. And in business looks supposedly don't matter as much as in dating.
Requiring an upgrade to release contact information of someone you were referred to is reasonable. LinkedIn has a right to make money. Keeping in mind that it's in Beta, it would be good to make this constraint explicit before someone initiates a referral.
Clay observed a power-law pattern emerging within LinkedIn. This is a temporary phenomenon, as the system's constraints work against preferential attachment. Unlike the web where links are boundless, people intermediate. As Duncan Watts observed, as you ratchet up the requirements for connections the connections diminish. Hubs will be protected by others and the hubs themselves will limit their connections to the meaningful to prevent being spammed and reputation risk. The result will be clusters of social networks with a more random distribution of link scale, reasonably maxing out at 150 connections per person.
Because the requirements for connections are high the network will not grow as fast as other systems, but the network's value will be higher because of its web of trust.
UPDATE: The discussion on LinkedIn, like with most of Joi's comment section, is getting really interesting. Reid, the CEO of LinkedIn, is cluefully participating.
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6/2/2003; 2:22:20 PM.
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