Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.


I just had two interesting questions:

Does rudeness dampen echoes?

Does politeness encourage echos by silencing or ampening 'noise'?

This is only related by a cinch:
Ever wish you could play silence through your speakers, pump up the volume, and drown out all the noise?

I wish I could. In those work environments where other people like to be loud.

Don some headphones, pump up the volume and

cat /dev/urandom >/dev/dsp

Sweet white oblivion |-)

Well, how is the blogsphere not an echo chamber? The A-list typically the A-list. It reinforces their own voices, their own thoughts.

Where is the new blood that would make it NOT an echo chamber?

In my experience, the B through Z list typically link to the A list as well. It's more common for less-known blogs to link to other less-known blogs, but most still link the big ones predominately.

One thing to note... there are 1.7M or so blogs indexed by Technorati. The top blogs only have several thousand inbound blogs. That's like 0.1% of the blogs, so "most still link to the big ones" is not true. You can also see that most blogs have around 4 inbound links. So any clump of blogs can look like an "echo chamber" although the higher ranked blogs probably get a bit more amplification.

On a related note, can someone explain this chart of "blogs with links"? The axis aren't well labeled, but supposedly it shows how small blogs outrank the large ones in terms of links, whatever that means.

I disagree with Joi's view on whether the blogosphere is an echo chamer or not. It is.

Blogosphere is a huge directed cyclic graph with a bias toward the top blogs meaning all those four inbound blogs will tend to be linked 'upward' if the blogosphere is divided into layers in terms of popularity with the most popular at the top.

Information travels in all directions, but blogs that consistently and regularly post noteworthy information tend to move up the layers over time. On the other hand, top blogs are slow in moving down the layers. Ray Ozzie, for example, hasn't updated his blog since last December is still remains popular.

Sum it up and you can see that, in blogosphere, news and its *interpreation* (views) tend to move top to bottom. As news and views moves down, 'echoes' created at each layer tend to be positive, meaning a blogger is more likely to link to the post if they react positively to the news or views.

Negative reactions also create their own counter-echos but counter-echos tend to create a pocket (pyramid?) of the blogosphere within which counter-echos travel more easily.

Am I making sense?

Makes sense to me, Don, except that I don't know there's a tendency towards positive views. I think the commonly-shared negative-views are one of the primary elements that provides the glue to hold a community/echochamber together. (Regardless of whether they are often expressed, or not: Anti-Bush, Anti-centralization, Anti-authority (while being SO influenced BY authority), Anti-anti...;-)

Imo, OVER-rudeness encourages echos by silencing or dampening 'noise' (ie, opinions to contrary). Then, OVER-politeness takes that framework and cements it... But, in general, even the "heated" arguments between blogarists tends to be between folks with so many built-in assumptions in common that the wider differences are not even seen, let alone approached. (Then again, a lot of these assumptions-in-common are largely ASSUMED, thus corn-fusion can arise pretty easy.)

In-bound links don't reflect what people read, at all. Besides, it's passe to link to someone that everybody else is reading. It would be easy to tracking reading, however even THAT doesn't reflect HOW WELL the reader UNDERSTANDS most or all of what is written. That's why a thumbs-up, thumbs-down approach to linking is one of the worst ideas to come along in a long time. (With all due respect to Kevin Marks and others, who are apparently infatuated with the concept of voting on article content. You'd need to vote on each individual sentence, to even BEGIN to get any meaningful Semiotic Web data.) I guess voting is useful if you want to perfect the process of cat-herding.

Plus, the concentric rings are So TIGHTLY packed that one can get the views of the A-list by reading the B-list, pretty easy.



I thought I'd try to make this clear, because evidently I've haven't. So it would, therefore, be imPOSSible to avoid all echo chambers, and neither desireable nor necessary to avoid them. To pretend echo chambers don't exist is to misunderstand oneself almost entirely, imo. So, one picks or is handed the echo chambers that one wants/must get involved in.

A marriage is an example of both SPLJ and an intense echo chamber, afaik. (I believe I posted before that when I said "SPLJ does NOT work", it was in reference to the pseudo-democratic way the Dean Campaign was run, for the most part. The tip of my little finger is SPLJ.)

An echo chamber is neutral and is best reflected by the results being either generally beneficial or harmful. Best seen, of course, in hindsight. For all the good that MAY come out of the Dean Campaign, the end result was an unexpected DISASTER, because of the Particular echo chamber that surrounded the leaders/followers/leaders.

And, because these issues haven't been discussed, I noticed Joe Trippi is planning to duplicate the disaster, imo. By developing an Extremely top-down implementation of grassroots activity, over at the CFA site.

This blogging is almost sure to wind down, any time now, but hard to shift focus from "entertainment" to "work"...;-).

Forgot to add, because each has their own echo chamber, it's pretty easy (most-a the time) to play silence in my mind's-ear/mind's-eye, and yet still hear and see things going on around the globe!

Ain't that net-effect neat!!

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