Virtuous cycle

Bartlomiej Owczarek weblog

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FriendFeed, Internet garbage dump or a gold mine

1) Joseph Weizenbaum, who created psychiatrist simulator called Eliza, dies at 85. WSJ article quotes him saying (link by Valleywag):

The Internet is like one of those garbage dumps outside of Bombay, there are people, most unfortunately, crawling all over it, and maybe they find a bit of aluminum, or perhaps something they call sell. But mainly it’s garbage.

2) Friendfeed, basically an RSS aggregator of person’s online activity with added functionality of comments, becomes the latest Internet hit. Scoble loves it, Duncan Riley at Techcrunch covered it and but didn’t see much point, louisgray replied to him with a blog post titled Duncan Riley Misses the Point of FriendFeed, which gained this comment by Ontario Emperor which i.a. explained why it is so useful to add another layer of commenting possibility to the “artifacts” that we produce:

(…) sometimes it’s not appropriate to comment at the original artifact. For example, one day I tweeted

“@commuter ont i10 eb jammed at euclid. 2 rt lanes clsd @ 4th. vineyard archibald offramps clsd.”

Then I subsequently added a metacomment via FriendFeed:

“i was 10 minutes late for maundy thursday rehearsal. my fault.”

The metacomment wouldn’t have made sense as just another tweet, but it made perfect sense as a metacomment overlaid over the previous artifact.

3) Ability of events in reality to generate “artifacts” is virtual reality is growing fast. These first artifacts can attract reactions, which themselves gain status of artifacts and are reprocessed (aggregated, commented on) further.

4) It reminds me of financial markets, which started with rather simple “artifacts” for real things (e.g. currencies), then built so many virtual layers on top of them, that in the end few people can understand the further chains of abstraction.

5) If financial markets were indication, the social sphere can be expected to generate amazing volume given its original “real” base, at the same time becoming unpredictable and impossible to understand for the majority of people.

6) How can social sphere be understood to be “unpredictable”..? In a way illustrated by recent Sarah Lacy interview and the twitter-enabled audience?

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