WeblogsAndEmergence


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In Emergence [ISBN]0743218264 Johnson says,

Emergence was written in 2001. A change has taken place on the Internet since 2000. Weblogs, a sort of online diary, which has been around for almost as long as the World Wide Web, have begun to grow in number and influence. These weblogs are beginning to exhibit an ability to manage a variety of tasks, which appears to be a form of emergent behavior because of changes in the way weblogs are managed.

Johnson's explanation for the inability of web pages to self-organize is,

He also describes how, in the example of the ants that, the many simple, local, random interactions of the ants helped them exhibit emergent behavior.

But search engines are of the web, not separate from it. Are search engines themselves an example of emergence?

Weblogs are different from traditional web pages written by hand in several ways. Weblogs involve the use of content management tools, which make it much easier to add entries, increasing the frequency of the posts. The posts are generally small items of a variety of types of information - e.g. text, photographs, audio, and video referred to as micro-content.[18] Weblog culture encourages bloggers (people who run weblogs) to comment on entries in other weblogs and link to the source. Several systems have protocols, which also cause a link from the source automatically to create a link to the new entry. Weblogs generate XML[19] files in addition to the HTML based on a standard protocol called RSS[20], which allows computers to receive updates to weblogs through special clients - such as Feedreader[21] for Windows and NetNewsWire[22] for the Macintosh - that constantly scan the users' favorite weblogs for new posts.

When new entries are posted to a weblog, they send notification to services such as weblogs.com[23] created by DavidWiner, which keep track of weblog updates in near real-time. This information is also used by a variety of new services to generate meta-information about weblogs These new information sites include Blogdex[24], which scans weblogs for quoted articles and ranks them according to the number of weblog references and Technorati,[25] which ranks weblogs by tracking inbound and outbound links to specific weblogs and or weblog posts.

Technorati's results in particular look a lot like diagrams of SmallWorldNetworks. Weblog links are probably governed by much the same rules. Roughly: most blog links are to a handful of "friends", but some supersites serve as connectors to other clusters of blogs or to the Internet as a whole. Would be interesting to see how the pattern of blog links looks relative to linking patterns in the web overall. Are blogs an organizing structure of the web, or merely another cluster within the web?

In addition to linking to articles between weblogs, bloggers link to each other through the use of blogrolls. Blogrolls are lists of the favorite weblogs of the blogger. Services such as blogrolling.com[26] help bloggers manage their blogrolls and see who is blogrolling them. Services such as blogstreet[27] provide a method of viewing the "neighborhood" of a blogger by following and analyzing the links.

In this way, the structure of weblogs addresses the problem that Johnson raises about why the Web is not self-organizing. The feedback and two-way linking enables weblogs to show emergent self-organization.

== Notes ==

[18] Weinberger, David. Small Pieces Loosely Joined. Retrieved February 18, 2003, from http://www.smallpieces.com/

[19] "Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a simple, very flexible text format derived from SGML ( ISO 8879 ). Originally designed to meet the challenges of large-scale electronic publishing, XML is also playing an increasingly important role in the exchange of a wide variety of data on the Web and elsewhere." Retrieved February 16, 2003, from http://www.w3.org/XML/ - intro

[20] "RSS is a Web content syndication format. Its name is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is dialect of XML. All RSS files must conform to the XML 1.0 specification, as published on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) website. At the top level, a RSS document is a <rss> element, with a mandatory attribute called version that specifies the version of RSS that the document conforms to." Retrieved February 16, 2003, from http://backend.userland.com/rss

[21] http://www.feedreader.com/

[22] http://ranchero.com/software/netnewswire/

[23] http://www.weblogs.com/

[24] http://blogdex.media.mit.edu/

[25] http://www.technorati.com/

[26] http://www.blogrolling.com/

[27] http://www.blogstreet.com/

But do weblogs scale in spite of intentional spamming?

Emergent Democracy!

Was it based on Emocracy Project - Rule by Human Emotion?

http://emocracia.no.sapo.pt

JCAntunes


Joi I use Johnson in my dissertation when I speak about auto-organization/ weblogs/communities. But I think we have to consider that the behavior (ants, cells, cities,weblogs) is historic. It occurs in a specific moment, in a specific place, in specific circunstances. I'm afraid of think emergence as an "natural" thing, independent of human will. - I'm [WWW]Suzana, from Brasil I hope you can understand my emergent english.