I gave a short talk and participated in a discussion about my Emergent Democracy paper at Glocom. Professor Shumpei Kumon, the executive director of Glocom translated my paper into Japanese. I am EXTREMELY grateful for this. He said that the paper would not normally pass his requirements for publication because of the sloppiness in the logic and the attributions, but since he thought the process as well as the topic were relevant and interesting, he agreed to publish the paper in Japanese in their journal in June. I'll be able to post the Japanese translation by Professor Kumon on my blog after that. In parallel, Illume, a scientific journal is publishing another version of the paper (edited and trimmed down) in June as well. So, we'll see what the Japanese think about ED soon.

I got a great deal of interesting feedback from the discussion.

Satoshi Hamano, (moblogged it here.) a student at Keio SFC, a rather progressive university, said that he got excited about ED, but when he tried to explain this to his peers, he got kind of a blank look. We discussed the issue of whether Japanese Net users would be interested in discussing democracy and whether blogging would take off in Japan. I explained that even on the English language blogs, not many people were interested in emergent democracy. ;-)

Hiroshi Azuma talked a lot about the fact that Japanese diary sites and the anonymous BBS 2ch in Japan have defined a Net culture that is different from that of the US and that the style of blogging in the US may be difficult to introduce into Japan. He described it in a very interesting way. I had talked about how blogs were interesting because of the weak-tie links between the blogs. He said that Japanese dairy sites are very strong-ties oriented and the anonymous BBS is where the weak-tie stuff happens. He said the balance of weak-tie and strong-tie communication in Japan is maybe different than the US. This is an interesting and important point and relates also with Dan's thoughts on the future of journalism. I guess the big question is, can new entrants into blogging change the somewhat small-group/strong-tie oriented communications of Japanese diaries and the anonymous nature of the 2ch BBS's in the way that AOL changed the nature of USENet. (I know that's not a great example.)

Glocom has been studying the Power Law a great deal and they made a few notes. I'm sorry I can't remember who said this, but someone pointed out that even in small groups of 12 often power laws occur. Social networks also tend to have power laws. The notion was that there were lots of big and small power laws in a somewhat fractal way. Maybe the way to look at Mayfield's Layers is to think of the limiters. IE 12 is the limit for giving everyone an equal voice and 150 is the limit to a peer-to-peer communication network.

Also at the top of the power law curve, things are a bit more flat and at the bottom, maybe more steep.

Shumpei also questioned emergence and the notion of trying to rally a movement around it. Politics is intentional, while emergence just sort of happens. Seems contradictory. I sort of agreed, but unlike a revolution where we are trying to take over, we are tool makers who have learned lessons about the Internet and the nature of chaos and emergence. The Internet is a working anarchy. We like and embrace distributed power, open standards and lack of control. We understand how it works and don't feel uncomfortable with the lack of control or the inability of one to know the whole of it. Designing the pieces of emergence and hoping that this emergence causes good is very different than trying to get voted into office so you can exercise your good judgment with control.

I also discussed the nature of leadership, how I have put my paper on my wiki and changed "by Joichi Ito" to "mostly by Joichi Ito" urging people to edit the text directly. (Ross's idea.) Shumpei said that maybe the paper would continue to become not by Joichi Ito and finally even disappear. ;-) I described how the ED discussion section of my wiki was getting pretty intense and how the paper is now a PLACE. (Yes, I know... I need to clean up that page...)

Last, but not least, I got to meet the infamous one way trackbacker that sparked such an interesting discussion on this blog a few weeks ago. ;-) Actually, he's a nice and smart guy with a cool MT blog in Japanese.

3 Comments

I'll bring up your talk when we do another Chiba "democracy discussion" visit this weekend with our friends Yoko and Yasu
wish I could bring the translated version, but maybe next time...

Hello,Joi. Your talk about Emergent Democracy is very exciting and interesting. I expect that tlanslating of your ED to Japanese will trigger the more disscution about blog & democracy/journalism in Japan.

My blog entry (in Japanese) of thinking about ED, "Blog & Journalism" (links & memo in Japanese)
(sorry, TrackBack error from my blog was occured..)
I'll continue to think about Blog, Democracy, Journalism on Japan society.

PS. a few correction.
- Hiroshi Azuma -> Hiroki Azuma
(His homepage)

- someone -> Haijime Maruta
(His profile @ NIKKEI NET)

Very Sorry!! More Correction of my corrction.

- someone -> Hajime Maruta

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