Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Posted by Thomas Crampton

Inevitable with the narrow-casting of magazines that Germany now has a magazine about divorce.

Reminds me of the launch of a magazine in the US for gay parents. (Apologies for this being a Times Select link.)

These magazines, Rosenkrieg along with And Baby magazine, show how publishers often miss obvious socioeconomic groups due to prejudices or oversight.

Both gay parents and divorcing couples are willing to pay large sums of money for information relating to their situation and there are many advertisers keen to hit those demographics. For years, however, no magazines addressed those issues.

Be interesting to compare the categories of popular Blogsites with the available publications to see where the low barriers to entry of Blogs has discovered a demographic ripe for a glossy publication.

This once again shows the strength of interacting with consumers (readers) during conception of a project.

Posted By Thomas Crampton

Blogs have lowered the barriers to entry into the marketplace for ideas: With what implications?

It formerly took powerful ideas (Marxism, Buddhism, Democracy) or those backed by capital (ie: printed in publications) to galvanize large audiences.

Now anyone, of any age, anywhere with Internet access and time can put their ideas into the marketplace.

The result is that not only do Blogs/Internet open the way to easily transmit mediocre ideas (such as this posting!), but they also open the way for a new style of collaborative thinking. (Will we start seeing idea mergers and hostile idea takeovers? - to absurdly follow the market analogy.)

This new marketplace brings certain strengths and weaknesses.

Will it increase ideologies or weaken them?

Seems clear it would de facto support a pro-technology ideology. Bloggers may find they resemble one another in some ways more than they resemble people in their own countries.

That said, large groups of people can have both intelligence and a mob-mentality.

Will Blogs/Internet change our methods of thinking?

Mimi @ Chanpon
Anime and Learning Japanese Culture

In her master's thesis submitted to the East Asian Studies Center at USC, Annie Manion argues that among college students in the US, anime has become one of the most important drivers of interest in Japan and Japanese language study. Drawing from surveys and interviews of students taking Japanese language classes and anime club members, Manion suggests that "there is a good deal of overlap" between young people studying Japanese and those involved with the anime fan community. Over half of Japanese language students cited "understanding Japanese anime, music, etc." as one reason they are taking a Japanese class.

That's good since most people aren't studying Japanese for business reasons anymore.

Apologies again for my semi-hiatus from blogging. I've reached level 40 (I now have a robo-chicken mount) on World of Warcraft and have completed (ahem) 80% of my research. One of the things I've been thinking about while not blogging is... blogging. A number of people have asked me to help new bloggers by giving them advice. In retrospect, I was giving people very specific advice based on my personal style. I thought I'd share some of the tips.

1 - You're probably stupid - Well, maybe not stupid, but at least ignorant. Often you are the last one to figure out that you're not as smart as you think. Assume that someone will think you're stupid and will kindly point this out in the comments. Preempt that by assuming you're stupid and uninformed. In other words, be humble and don't try to write something conclusively smart-sounding. Start a discussion where someone smarter than you can step in easily.

2 - You need help thinking - Focus on the parts that you can't figure out. Ask people to help you think. Most of the people who comment on my blog are helping me think. In other words, don't say, "Blah blah blah. I'm an authority. Now talk amongst yourselves while I go pat myself on the back." Say, "Gee, I'm not that smart, but here's something interesting I'm noodling on. I've gotten this far on these pieces. Help me out here... someone?"

3 - Take a position - Wikipedia is about neutral point of view. Blogs about points of view. You can always admit you're wrong later, but posts that don't have a point of view are boring and people are less likely to comment. "Here is what people are saying about Web 2.0" is less interesting than "I think the word Web 2.0 is stupid." However, remember rules 1 and 2.

4 - Link - Read other blogs a bit before posting. Link as much as possible. Try to participate in the conversation instead of soap-boxing.

5 - Write early write often - Don't wait for your ideas to be completed. When you have some inspiration, get it out of the door quickly. Update the post or write new ones as the thought or story unfolds.

Having said all that, I don't follow my own rules. Like this post and the last post... But this is the advice that I would give myself.

As the Web 2.0 bandwagon gets bigger and faster, more and more people seem to be blogging about it. I am increasingly confronted by people who ask me what it is. Just like I don't like "blogging" and "blogosphere", I don't like the word. However, I think it's going to end up sticking. I don't like it because it coincides with another bubbly swell in consumer Internet (the "web") and it sounds like "buzz 2.0". I think all of the cool things that are going on right now shouldn't be swept into some name that sounds like a new software version number for a re-written presentation by venture captitalists to their investors from the last bubble.

What's going on right now is about open standards, open source, free culture, small pieces loosely joined, innovation on the edges and all of the good things that WE FORGOT when we got greedy during the last bubble. These good Internet principles are easily corrupted when you bring back "the money". (As a VC, I realize I'm being a bit hypocritical here.) On the other hand, I think/hope Web 2.0 will be a bit better than Web 1.0. Both Tiger and GTalk use Jabber, an open standard, instead of the insanity of MSN Messenger, AOL IM and Yahoo IM using proprietary standards that didn't interoperate. At least Apple and Google are TRYING to look open and good.

I think blogging, web services, content syndication, AJAX, open source, wikis, and all of the cool new things that are going on shouldn't be clumped together into something that sounds like a Microsoft product name. On the other hand, I don't have a better solution. Web 2.0 is probably a pretty good name for a conference and probably an easy way to explain why we're so excited to someone who doesn't really care.

While we're at labeling the web x.0. Philip Torrone jokingly mentioned to me the other day (inside Second Life) that 3D was Web 3.0. I agree. 3D and VR have been around for a long time and there is a lot of great work going on, but I think we're finally getting to the phase where it's integrated with the web and widely used. I think the first step for me was to see World of Warcraft (WoW) with its 4M users and the extensible client. The only machine I have where I can turn on all of the video features is my duel CPU G5. On my powerbook I have to limit my video features and can't concurrently use other applications while playing. Clearly there is a hardware limit which is a good sign since hardware getting faster is a development we can count on.

Second Life (SL) is sort of the next step in development. Instead of trying to control all real-money and real-world relationship with things in the game like Blizzard does with WoW, SL encourages it. SL is less about gaming and more about building and collaboration. However, SL is not open source and is a venture capital backed for-profit company that owns the platform. I love it, but I think there's one more step.

Croquet, which I've been waiting for for a long time appears to be in the final phases of a real release. Croquet, if it takes off should let you build things like SL but in a distributed and open source way. It is basically a 3D collaborative operating system. If it takes off, it should allow us to take our learning from WoW and SL and do to them what "Web 2.0" is doing to traditional consumer Internet services.

However, don't hold your breath. WoW blows away SL in terms of snappy graphics and response time and has a well designed addictive and highly-tuned gaming environment. Croquet is still in development and is still way behind SL in terms of being easy to use. It will take time for the more open platforms to catch up to the closed ones, but I think they're coming.

Web 3.0 is on its way! Actually, lets not call it Web 3.0.